Over 300000 march through Barcelona demanding release of Catalonia leaders

Thousands Rally in Barcelona Demanding Release of Detained Politicians (PHOTOS)

More than 300,000 people are estimated to have taken to the streets of Barcelona to call for the return of the 16 Catalan leaders who are in prison or have fled the country in the aftermath of last October's unilateral independence referendum.

"They need to demonstrate that there was violence to execute the sentences that they want, so they invent it", she said, adding: "But we will continue to protest peacefully". Spanish and German prosecutors met last week at the headquarters of Eurojust in The Hague.

Puigdemont is also accused of misuse of public funds for staging an independence referendum in Catalonia on October 1 despite it having been ruled unconstitutional by the courts.

Bank of Spain Governor Luis Maria Linde said on Monday that political tensions over a secession bid by the northern region of Catalonia could damage confidence in the Spanish economy. "The interpretation of the references to "Catalonia as a nation" and to "the national reality of Catalonia" in the preamble of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia have no legal effect", the constitutional court had decreed.

However, in those elections, held on December 21, the three pro sovereignty parties revalidated their majority in the Catalan chamber although the legislature has not yet begun after four unsuccessful attempts to invest in a new President.

Seven other Catalan separatist leaders are in jail in Spain while they await trial for rebellion, along with the two leaders of the grassroots separatist groups.

In Barcelona, the supporters of the March for the independence of the region require the government to stop the repression and persecution of Catalan politicians. The poll surveyed 1,200 people and had a margin of error of 2.8 percent.

While conceding that the arrests of prominent Catalan leaders on possible charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds had left the independence movement "decapitated", he said the setback was only temporary.

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