Hundreds of Thousands Barcelona’s Demands Jailed Catalan Separatists Release

Hundreds of thousands of people backing Catalonia’s bid to secede from Spain packed the streets in downtown Barcelona Saturday to demand the release of jailed separatist leaders.

The rally’s grassroots organizers called for 10 prominent members of the secessionist movement in the northeastern Spanish region to be freed from prison.

Eight former members of Catalonia’s dissolved Cabinet and two activists are in jail while Spanish authorities investigate what party they played in promoting an illegal declaration of independence last month in violation of Spain’s Constitution.

A separate court in Madrid granted bail on Thursday to six other Catalan lawmakers who are the subject of another investigation into the secession push.

Also on Saturday, the pro-independence Republic Left party announced that its jailed leader, Oriol Junqueras, will be its top candidate for the upcoming regional elections on Dec. 21. The Catalan party is including other jailed leaders in its list for the regional parliament. Polls show that Republic Left is favored to win the upcoming ballot, although it won’t secure an outright majority.

The Catalan conflict is the worst constitutional crisis to threaten Spain in nearly four decades.

Watch this video of last nights protest of around a million people calling for Spain to release Catalan political prisoners.

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