Madrid, Feb 17 : About 200,000 people took part in a protest in Barcelona on Saturday, protesting trial of Catalan politicians that began this week in the Supreme Court of Spain, according to estimates of the city police.
However, the rally's organizers estimated the number of protesters at 500,000. The rally was organized by the public organizations Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, as well as the parties Left Republicans of Catalonia, Popular Unity Candidacy, and Together for Catalonia.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court of Spain began hearings on the merits of the case of Catalan referendum and the declaration of independence by the regional parliament in October 2017. A total of 12 Catalan politicians are on trial, nine of them, including former Catalan Vice President and leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia political party, Oriol Junqueras, and former speaker of Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, have been charged with organizing a coup. The prosecutor's office, state advocacy and the VOX party represent the prosecution in the trial.
On October 1, 2017, Catalonia held an independence referendum, which resulted in over 90 percent of voters backing the region's autonomy. Madrid refused to recognize its results, but this did not preclude the Catalan parliament from declaring independence on October 27 of that year. This prompted the Spanish government to dismiss the regional authorities and impose direct rule over Catalonia. When the new Catalan government led by President Quim Torra came to power in June, Madrid restored the region's autonomy.