Catalonia independence activists rally against referendum trial in Madrid (VIDEO)
Hundreds of Catalan independence activists marched in Madrid as the trial of former Minister of the Presidency and Spokesperson of the Government of Catalonia Francesc Homs got underway in the Supreme Court of Spain.
Homs is accused of “civil disobedience and perversion of justice” during the 2014 non-binding Catalonia independence vote. If found guilty, Homs could face an up to 9-year ban from politics.
The crowd accompanied Homs to the court, with activists carrying placards that read “To vote is democracy,” “Spanish courts judge ballot boxes,” “Today we are all on trial” and quite laconic ones, “Love democracy.” The pro-separatist activists chanted “independence, independence.” A number of pro-unionists tried to disrupt the march, but the interactions were peaceful.
Homs, along with other politicians and their supporters sang the Catalan national anthem, ‘Els Segadors’ (‘The Reapers’). Homs then embraced former President Mas and entered the court to attend the hearing. A number of his supporters remained in front of the court for the entire day, delivering speeches and holding placards.
The trial of three other former Catalan officials, Mas, as well as former Vice-President Joana Ortega and former Education Minister Irene Rigau begun on February 6 in Barcelona’s High Court. Homs has already testified before Barcelona’s courts, but his case is being heard in the Supreme Court since he’s currently a member of the Congress of Deputies of Spain.
In November 2014, Catalonia held a symbolic regional independence vote in which some 2.3 of the 5.4 million eligible Catalan voters took part, in defiance of the Spanish government’s ban. An overwhelming majority of the participants voted in favor of independence from the central Spanish government in Madrid.