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Massive separatist 'freedom' march hits Barcelona

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 18, 2019 - Duration: 01:09s

Massive separatist 'freedom' march hits Barcelona

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators waving pro-independence flags and chanting "freedom for political prisoners" joined marches across Catalonia on Friday, the fifth day of protests against the jailing of nine separatist leaders over a failed bid to break away from Spain in 2017.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

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Massive separatist 'freedom' march hits Barcelona

They're chanting ''Freedom for political prisoners'.'

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took over an entire highway in Spain on Friday (October 18), as they marched their way to Barcelona in support of the jailed Catalan separatist leaders.

Many of them began their trek on Wednesday (October 16) from municipalities across northeastern Spain.

It's the culmination of five days of unrest - over Monday's (October 14) sentencing of nine separatists behind the referendum on Catalonia's independence in 2017.

It sparked the worst sustained street violence Spain has seen in decades.

Over a hundred flights have been canceled since the beginning of the week, and, citing security concerns, the Spanish soccer federation said it had postponed the October 26 home match against Real Madrid.

The famous Sagrada Familia is also closed.

Catalonia's former leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium after the failed independence bid, on Friday handed himself into police in response to a European arrest warrant.

He told reporters that Belgian authorities had allowed him to remain free without bail.

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