200,000 take to the streets of Barcelona demanding release of pro-independence leaders
Candlelit demonstration in Catalonia's capital and several other marches in the country's main cities
Once more people took the streets all around Catalonia massively. On Tuesday evening 200,000 protesters rallied in the country’s main cities, according to the local police. Yet this time the main march, in central Barcelona, was different from the protest. Two key people will be missing: Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leaders of the main pro-independence civil organizations in the country, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural.
In fact, the aim of the demonstration today is to protest against the judge’s decision to send both of them to prison less than 24 hours ago. They are being investigated for sedition. This unprecedented measure to any leader of the Catalan independence movement today has sparked protests all around the country. The main one was held in central Barcelona, with people holding candles. Girona, Lleida and Tarragona also hosted marches to support Sànchez and Cuixart.
"They want to continue fighting from prison"
ANC and Òmnium spokespeople
Jailed campaigners 'want to continue fighting from prison,' according to their lawyers
During the protests, representatives of the organizations affected by the judge’s decision said that the leaders are “strong and with courage” despite being held in custody. They explained that their lawyers have been allowed to talk to them. “They want to continue fighting from prison,” the spokespeople of ANC and Òmnium Cultural said.
Protests will go on during the coming days, with yet another rally in the Catalan capital this Saturday evening as the main highlight. Some minor parties and unions are also asking to hold a general strike in the coming days.
Sánchez and Cuixart lead two of the biggest pro-independence organizations in Catalonia, responsible for organizing the massive pro-Yes demonstrations of the last few years. The judge argues that they were the leaders of some protests on September 20 which blocked Spanish police officers inside some buildings while raiding several Catalan government offices. The Spanish security forces were trying to prevent the October 1 referendum from being held.