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Huge rallies in Barcelona over jailing of Catalan separatists

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Huge rallies in Barcelona

More than half a million people have participated in a series of mass rallies in Barcelona called in protest at the jailing of nine pro-Catalan independence leaders over their roles in the failed push for secession two years ago.

Earlier, workers in Catalonia downed tools, shops were closed and activists blocked roads in a general strike, while tens of thousands of people who marched from across the region began converging in Barcelona.

Their presence brought the city to a standstill before a huge demonstration began at 5pm local time. The entrance to the Catalan capital’s most famous landmark – the Sagrada Familia church – was blocked by pro-independence protesters and 57 flights were cancelled at Barcelona-El Prat airport. Barcelona police said about 525,000 people were taking part in the demonstrations.

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