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Several hundred students rallied in central Barcelona on Tuesday, as the trial of Catalan separatist leaders and activists opened in Spain’s supreme court in Madrid.
Demonstrators shouted chants demanding “freedom for political prisoners” and waved signs bearing the images of some of the 12 parliamentarians and activists on trial.
A representative from one of the student unions behind the demonstration said that the proceedings were a “farce trial, a trial that’s only aim is to crush the democratic aspirations and aspirations for change of thousands of people.”
Former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras, former interior minister Joaquim Forn, former president of the Catalan parliament Carme Forcadell are among those facing charges for their part in the 2017 referendum and subsequent push for independence from Spain.
The 12 are accused with crimes including rebellion, sedition and the misuse of public funds. Those accused of rebellion and misuse of public funds are facing prison terms of up to 25 years.
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