Spain's Supreme Court on Monday jailed nine Catalan separatist leaders for between nine and 13 years for their role in a failed independence bid, a decision that triggered mass protests in region, some of which turned violent. New Catalan vote on independence is inevitable, says jailed leader.
The main flashpoints were around the Spanish National Police headquarters in central Barcelona and the Catalan capital's El Prat international airport which became the focal point of the demonstrations.
Earlier, acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the sentence signified the defeat of the independence movement, whose campaign has caused Spain's most serious political crisis since the death of dictator Francisco Franco four decades ago, but protesters vowed to continue demonstrating until Catalonia's independence is achieved.
New Catalan vote on independence is inevitable, says jailed leader
Oriol Junqueras says crisis ‘must be resolved via ballot boxes’ as protesters clash with police
The former Catalan vice-president jailed for his role in the region’s failed push for independence two years ago has claimed that a new referendum on breaking away from Spain is unavoidable.
Oriol Junqueras and eight other separatist leaders were jailed for sedition by Spain’s supreme court on Monday. The ruling prompted furious protests across Catalonia and led to angry clashes with police after demonstrators attempted to occupy Barcelona-El Prat airport.
In an emailed interview with Reuters, Junqueras, who was sentenced to 13 years, said he was convinced a political solution had to be found to end the bitter independence conflict.
“What I’m sure of is that this conflict is to be resolved via ballot boxes ... we are convinced that sooner or later a referendum is inevitable because otherwise, how can we give a voice to the citizens?” he wrote from prison, adding that he did not regret having organised the referendum in October 2017.
Junqueras confirmed that he and the other jailed leaders would take their case to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.
He said they would never abandon their push for independence. “Prison and exile have made us stronger and makes us ever more convinced, if that is possible, in our profoundly democratic beliefs.”