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Catalans Rally as Madrid Moves Against Pro-Independence Leaders

Thousands of Catalans gathered in Barcelona to protest a series of legal cases against pro-independence Catalan politicians made by Spain's government.

Several of Catalonia's lawmakers, including former regional president, Artur Mas, and the current speaker of the regional parliament, Carme Forcadell, are facing court cases for holding a non-binding secession referendum in 2014 in disobedience of a court order.

Protest organizer also say there are more than 400 towns and villages which have cases pending with the Spanish State for different political reasons.

teleSUR takes a look at the protests and the backdrop to these cases.

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Thousands wave the Catalan flag, known as "Esteladas", during a gathering to protest against legal challenges made by Spain
Thousands wave the Catalan flag, known as "Esteladas", during a gathering to protest against legal challenges made by Spain's government against pro-independence Catalan politicians, in Barcelona, Spain, November 13, 2016. Photo:Reuters
Pro-Independence supporter likens current cases against Catalan politicians to the 1940 execution of Catalan President Lluis Companys by the Franco regime.
Pro-Independence supporter likens current cases against Catalan politicians to the 1940 execution of Catalan President Lluis Companys by the Franco regime. Photo:Reuters
Polls in Catalonia, Spain
Polls in Catalonia, Spain's wealthiest region, have shown the population to be split on the question of independence from Madrid. Photo:Reuters
Madrid has begun legal cases against Catalan leaders for holding a symbolic independence vote on Nov. 9, 2014.
Madrid has begun legal cases against Catalan leaders for holding a symbolic independence vote on Nov. 9, 2014. Photo:Reuters
Then Catalan president Artur Mas called for and participated in the vote, despite court order deeming the referendum to be illegal.
Then Catalan president Artur Mas called for and participated in the vote, despite court order deeming the referendum to be illegal. Photo:EFE
Mas has made court appearances after being indicted by his region
Mas has made court appearances after being indicted by his region's supreme court. Photo:Reuters
Hundreds of thousands demonstrated in the lead up to the Nov. 9, 2014 vote.
Hundreds of thousands demonstrated in the lead up to the Nov. 9, 2014 vote. Photo:AFP
Nearly 90 percent of the ballots were in favor of independence, but turnout for the vote was well under 50 percent.
Nearly 90 percent of the ballots were in favor of independence, but turnout for the vote was well under 50 percent. Photo:Reuters
Pro-independence leaders say the region pays too much taxes to Madrid.
Pro-independence leaders say the region pays too much taxes to Madrid. Photo:Reuters
Catalonia
Catalonia's current president, Carles Puigdemont, has said he plans on calling another referendum on independence by September of 2017. Photo:Reuters
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