Catalans march against Madrid trials

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A man carries a sign that reads "Spain for sale" next to a huge banner reading "Independence Now" during a rally on Catalonia's national day 'La Diada' in Barcelona, Spain, September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Susana Vera

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people waving pro-independence flags and holding pictures of jailed Catalan separatist leaders took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday to call for self-determination for the northeastern Spanish region.

Chanting “Freedom!” and “Independence!” around 200,000 people, according to local police, took part in the peaceful march at a time when the region’s divisive independence drive is back in the spotlight.

The trial of 12 separatist leaders, nine of whom have been jailed since late 2017 or early 2018, started this week in Madrid. They are being tried for their role in a referendum and an independence declaration deemed illegal by Spanish courts.

Catalan regional president Quim Torra and the Catalan parliament’s chairman Roger Torrent took part in the march.

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