Catalans Protest Against Madrid Government’s Authoritarianism

Around three-quarters of a million Catalans have marched to demand the release of local politicians arrested for their role in the drive for independence.

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Spain’s central government has dissolved the Catalan parliament, dismissed the Catalan government, and imposed direct rule following the region’s unilateral declaration of independence on October 27th.

This followed a self-determination referendum which the Spanish authorities deemed illegal and attempted to shut down violently, with the blessing of the European Union’s ruling bodies.

Carles Puigdemont, Catalonia’s ex-president — or president-in-exile, depending on your point of view — had given some indication that he would ignore Madrid’s attempts to terminate his administration and remain in post, but fled to Brussels, Belgium when the authorities closed in.

Several of those who remained behind have been arrested to face charges of rebellion and sedition, with eight former Catalan government ministers and the leaders of the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural jailed while investigations continue.

Protestors say the detainees are “political prisoners”, and flooded the Avenue Marina to hear speeches from their family members and demand their release.

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