Rally in Barcelona to demand the release of jailed separatist leaders

Pro-independence supporters attend a demonstration in Barcelona Spain

The first two jailed were Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who wield influence through their pro-independence civic organizations.

The Spanish economy has remained mostly unaffected by the Catalan independence push, but it has unnerved investors and prompted hundreds of companies to move out of the region or review investment plans there.

On October 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum, during which the vast majority of voters backed the region's secession from Spain.

It is not the moment of trials or arrests, but of building bridges and finding a solution, assured the General Secretary of the UGT of Catalonia, Camil Ros.

"But it is not a separatist protest". 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.

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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.

He was elected as a lawmaker in snap polls in Catalonia in December and has twice been proposed as a candidate to lead a new Catalan regional government, but a judge refused both times to allow him to leave jail to be sworn in. They had the support of trade unions, parents and actors associations and youth 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.

If a new leader in Catalonia is not elected by May 22, new regional elections will be held.

A massive march toured today the center of Barcelona demanding the release of nine imprisoned secessionist leaders, accused of rebellion by the Spanish justice system, and favoring a political solution to the conflict in Catalonia.

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