FC Barcelona: Prison not the answer for Catalonia leaders

A dog walks outside the Supreme Court in Madrid Spain Monday Oct. 14 2019. Spain's Supreme Court is set to rule on a rebellion and sedition trial

FC Barcelona: Prison not the answer for Catalonia leaders

Protestors crowd a street in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019.

Thousands of pro-independence activists of Catalonia try to occupy the Barcelona airport, after publicizing the sentence against the independence leaders with serious clashes with the Spanish and Catalan police, on Monday.

Spain's government said it would do whatever it takes to stop the violence and issued the statement that it "will act, if needed, with firmness, proportionality and unity".

Torra told reporters that he had asked to appear in front of the Catalonian parliament as soon as possible and would urgently send a letter to the King of Spain and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Still, the central government's handing of the Catalonian crisis, both under Mr. Sanchez and former People's Party prime minister Mariano Rajoy, have left it with a black eye in diplomatic circles - one that Catalonian independence leaders hope will help them win allies overseas.

Police and protesters were expected to face off for a second time Tuesday in Spain's southern Catalonia region, a day after the Supreme Court found nine separatist leaders guilty of sedition and sentenced them for up to 13 years.

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"A new stage begins where we take the initiative and put the implementation of the right to self-determination back in the centre" of our proposals, Mr Torra said, urging Madrid to pay heed and start talks to that effect.

The arrests stemmed from a unilateral independence referendum held in Catalonia in October of 2017.

Police made 29 arrests in Barcelona, the Catalan capital, during a raging street battle Tuesday night. Health authorities say they treated 125 people, both police and protesters.

In Barcelona, protesters sang the Catalan anthem and shouted, "The streets will always be ours" and "Independence", while they called Spanish police "occupying forces" and urged them to leave Catalonia. "Given the current situation, there should be a joint response from the pro-independence groups", said Vidal Aragonés, spokesperson for the CUP.

Similar protests turned violent in other towns in Catalonia, which has seen a rise in separatist sentiment over the past decade. Other separatists support calling an early regional election in Catalonia to channel expected separatist anger into more votes for their parties.

Barcelona's global airport became the focal point of the protests.

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Most impromptu protesters have responded to an online campaign by Tsunami Democratic, a shadowy grassroots group that uses encrypted messaging apps to call for peaceful disobedience.

But on Wednesday, the group issued a statement appealing for an end to the violence.

Thousands of demonstrators had gathered at the airport in an attempt to block access roads and bring all operations to a standstill after Spain's supreme court sentenced nine separatist leaders to at least nine years in prison over their roles in an independence referendum.

Former Catalan foreign minister Raul Romeva, Jordi Turull, the former Catalan government spokesman, and ex-labor minister Dolors Bassa were convicted of sedition and misuse of public funds and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Former parliamentary speaker Carme Forcadell was handed 11 years and six months in prison, while five other former ministers in the Catalan government were jailed for between 10 years and six months and 12 years.

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