Hundreds of people have protested in Spain’s Barcelona to demand the release of pro-secession former officials in Catalonia, following a Supreme Court ruling that denied them bail.
Dressed in yellow “Yes” banners, the demonstrators gathered in Barcelona’s Saint James’ Square on Monday night, carrying signs that read “Freedom for political prisoners” and chanting slogans in support of their jailed leaders.
Earlier on Monday, a Spanish judge had ordered former regional vice president Oriol Junqueras, councilor Joaquim Fort, and pro-independence activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart remanded in custody without bail.
The same magistrate ordered the release of former Catalan cabinet ministers Raul Romeva, Carles Mundo, Josep Rull, and Jordi Turull from a Madrid prison after paying a EUR-100,000 (USD-118,000) bail each.
Earlier, ousted ministers Meritxell Borras and Dolors Bassa had also been released from a women’s jail in Alcala Meco.
The six former ministers from Catalonia are still under investigation for sedition against the Spanish state. All six are reportedly heading to Catalonia to participate in political events ahead of regional parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on December 21.
“Today thousands of citizens returned to the streets to say ‘we want them free.’ We celebrate the freedom of the Bassa and Borras Counselors and the advisers Mundo, Romeva, Rull, and Turull — they have also been unfairly deprived of freedom, but they are not all of them,” Natza Ferrer, a journalist, said during the Monday protest.
Spain sacked the Catalan regional government on October 27 for unilaterally declaring Catalonia independent following a referendum on secession that was rejected by Madrid as illegal.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has dissolved the Catalan parliament and government and called this month’s snap elections in a bid to “restore normality” to the region.