Catalan sentencing sparks unrest in Spain
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/15/19, 11:15 am
Protesters continued to block roads and railway lines in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday after mass demonstrations against the Spanish government a day earlier. A court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to up to 13 years in prison on Monday, sparking the protests in the capital of the Catalonia region. Demonstrators gathered at the Barcelona airport, forcing the cancellation of at least 110 flights. More than 170 people, including 40 police officers, sustained injuries.
What prompted the court sentences? The Spanish Supreme Court sentenced the leaders for their involvement in a 2017 secession attempt by Catalonia. Spain seized control of the autonomous region after a disputed referendum favored independence. The court also issued an international arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont, the region’s former leader, who fled to Belgium. Former deputy leader Oriol Junqueras, who was among those sentenced, told Reuters that independence is inevitable: “We’re not going to stop thinking what we think. Ideals can’t be derailed by sentences.”
Dig deeper: Read our 2017 report in The Sift on Spain’s effort to quell separatism in Catalonia.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.