Thousands of Catalan separatists march in Madrid

File photo: Catalan separatists. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Madrid, Spain Mar 17, 2019, 07.32 AM (IST)

Thousands of Catalan separatists took to the streets of the Spanish capital Saturday to denounce the prosecution of 12 of their leaders, on trial for their part in the failed 2017 independence bid.

Police estimated that some 18,000 people marched through the city centre, the first such demonstration by Catalan separatists in Madrid since 2012.

Many of the protesters carried the red-and-yellow striped flag of Catalonia, and a banner at the front of the march read: "Self-determination is not a crime".

The separatists denounce the court case mounted against the regional politicians as a politically motivated show trial.

Nine of the 12 on trial at Madrid's Supreme Court face up to 25 years in jail on charges of rebellion and other offences for pushing a secession bid referendum in October 2017 in defiance of a court ban, and for a brief declaration of independence.

The moves sparked Spain's deepest political crisis since the transition to democracy in the 1970s after the death of dictator Francisco Franco.

 

Story highlights

Police estimated that some 18,000 people marched through the city centre, the first such demonstration by Catalan separatists in Madrid since 2012.