ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Protests have erupted in the streets of Spain following a supreme court order which led to the detention of five separatist leaders for their role in Catalonia’s independence referendum last year.
Footage circulating on social media showed riot police using batons to prevent demonstrators from getting near federal government offices in Barcelona.
According to emergency services, 24 protestors were injured in clashes with Spanish law enforcement.
More unrest in #Spain. Spanish riot police fire rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators protesting a Supreme Court ruling which led to the arrest of five #Catalan leaders for their role in last year's #CatalanReferendum. https://t.co/anpv3C7IKd pic.twitter.com/DH6JWtWCJo— Karzan Sulaivany (@KarzanSulaivany) March 24, 2018
The Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) called for the demonstrations on Thursday ahead of a court decision to detain five Catalan leaders, including presidential candidate Jordi Turull.
The Supreme Court held former Catalan parliament president Carme Forcadell and three former regional ministers alongside Turull.
On Friday, Spain’s Supreme Court announced that it would prosecute 13 Catalan separatists for “rebellion,” a charge which carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison. Former regional president Carles Puigdemont was included in the indictment.
Puigdemont is currently in self-exile in Belgium along with four of his ministers.
In total, the court said 25 Catalans would be tried “for rebellion, embezzlement or disobedience.”
Reacting to the charges, Puigdemont said he was patient and optimistic that things might change. “Let’s see what happens tomorrow, what happens today. Every day things change,” he was quoted as saying by The National.
He also called on the Supreme Court judge not to mix justice with politics. “It is not right for a judge to do politics,” he said.
The semi-autonomous region held an independence referendum last October, shortly after the Kurdistan Region’s historic plebiscite.
However, the Spanish government, similar to Baghdad with Erbil, rejects the results of the vote and continues to block Catalonia’s independence efforts.