15:51 GMT +313 December 2018
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    Demonstrators wave esteladas or independence flags in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, April 15, 2018, during a protest in support of Catalonian politicians who have been jailed on charges of sedition

    Thousands Rally in Barcelona Demanding Release of Detained Politicians (PHOTOS)

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    MADRID (Sputnik) - A large-scale rally is held on Sunday in the Spanish resort city of Barcelona, where thousands of protesters demand the release of local politicians and activists detained on the charges related to the 2017 independence vote, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

    The rally is held six months after the detention of the leaders of Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural organizations. A number of local politicians, including the speaker of the regional parliament and the mayor of Barcelona, are taking part in the event.

    According to the local police, about 315,000 people participate in the demonstration held under the slogan "For rights and freedoms, for democracy and cohesion, we want you home!"

    ​The rally was organized by the Catalan pro-independence groups and trade unions.

    On October 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum, during which the vast majority of voters backed the region's secession from Spain. The plebiscite was not recognized by Madrid, which subsequently imposed direct rule over the autonomous region and dismissed its government. A number of activists and several ministers of the former Catalan government were arrested, while several others managed to leave Spain.

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