16:58 GMT +312 December 2017
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    Pro-independence Catalans from all over Europe take part in a rally showing their support to ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his government, in Brussels, Belgium December 7, 2017

    Catalans Protest in Brussels, Call on EU to Protect Region’s Rights

    © REUTERS/ Yves Herman
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    Since the Catalan Independence Referendum in early October, Spain has been witnessing extensive political turmoil. On Thursday, some 45,000 Catalans took to the central streets of Brussels, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – The number of protesters was provided by the Belgian police.

    The protesters marched with Catalan red and yellow flags, carrying posters saying "Europe, wake up! Let’s protect democracy!" and "Dignity of democracy is democracy of dignity!"

    The demonstration was organized by the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, and supported by New Flemish Alliance nationalists. The rally has not resulted in any clashes or other significant incidents.

    READ MORE: About 200 Catalan Mayors Hold Rally in Brussels in Support of Puigdemont (VIDEO)

    Former Catalan President Puigdemont was dismissed by Spanish President Rajoy after Catalonia declared independence following its October 1 referendum. During the referendum, the majority of Catalans backed the community's secession from Spain. The independence declaration led to the dissolution of the regional parliament. In turn, Puigdemont left the country for Belgium in late October. In early November, the Spanish authorities issued an arrest warrant for the Catalan politician and several of his supporters. They are accused of embezzling state funds, organizing an uprising, rebellion, and sedition. On November 17, the Brussels prosecutor's office demanded that Puigdemont and the ministers be extradited to Spain.

    Tags:
    Catalan referendum, protest, police, Catalonia, Spain, Brussels
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