Marchers call for freedom for jailed Catalan leaders

By Danielle Haynes  |  Nov. 11, 2017 at 3:51 PM
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Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Hundreds of thousands of Catalonia independence supporters gathered in the streets of Barcelona on Saturday seeking the release of jailed regional leaders.

The demonstrators called for separatists -- like ousted President Carles Puigdemont, and leaders of the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural -- to be freed. Catalonia's pro-independence referendum vote led to Madrid taking control and placing the region's ousted leaders in pre-trial custody on charges of sedition and misusing public funds.

"Freedom for the political prisoners," protesters shouted as they marched along Avenue Marina from the beach to the Sagrada Familia church.

Family members of the jailed leaders -- and some of the leaders themselves -- made speeches to the crowd.

Former Vice President Oriol Junqueras issued a statement saying the heirs of the Franco regime have jailed him in their "shameful support" of Spanish socialists.

"Our dreams are their nightmares," he wrote, adding that "winter will lead to spring."

Puigdemont, who traveled to Belgium after being freed from jail, urged supporters to rally in favor of "freedom and democracy."

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