‘Democracia’: 80,000 gather for Catalan pro-independence rally
People carried Catalan flags and banners demanding that the persecution of Mas and Catalan parliament head, Carme Forcadell end.
The stage from which the speakers addressed the crowd, was decorated with giant letters reading “Democracia” (Democracy).
The Catalan national anthem was also performed by people on stage and by demonstrators.
Mas is set to stand trial on charges of "serious disobedience" and "malfeasance" for the symbolic independence vote his government staged in 2014.
Back then, over 80 percent of those who cast a vote wanted Catalonia to gain independence from Madrid. If found guilty on the charges, Mas may face a ban on holding office during a period of up to 10 years.
The Spanish government has adamantly ruled out the possibility of Catalonia’s independence, saying that secession of the country’s wealthiest region would be illegal.
Catalonia's independence roadmap, passed by the regional parliament after pro-independence leaders won the majority of seats there last year, was suspended by Spain’s constitutional court in August.
However, current Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, said that he will call a referendum on whether to stay with Madrid or leave to in September 2017.