Spanish Police Officials detained nine Catalan separatists in Spain’s northeastern region of Catalonia early on September 23, for planning violent actions. A spokeswoman for the Guardia Civil confirmed that the detentions were ordered by Spain’s High Court. The nine were arrested during a police raid that started in the wee hours of the Monday morning in various towns in Catalonia, including Sabadell and Parets del Valles, Police said. Documents and computer hardware were also seized from the separatists during the raid, they added.
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Earlier, a dozen separatist leaders, including Aragonès’s predecessor, Oriol Junqueras, were on trial at Spain’s supreme court over their alleged roles in the failed push for regional independence in October 2017. Nine of them including Junqueras, the former speaker of the Catalan parliament Carme Forcadell, and two influential grassroots activists, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez who are accused of rebellion, which carries a prison sentence of up to 25 years. They also face other charges including sedition and misuse of public funds. On Septemeber 11, thousands of Spaniards gathered for the celebration of Catalonia's National Day marking the fall of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714. Yet there was a sharp fall in protesters in 2018 as there were about 60,000 protesters as compared to over million in previous years. They voiced the freedom of Catalonia as well as the aforementioned separatist leaders. Yet the separatists have held peaceful and mass protests bereft of violence. The separatist's fate will be decided by the Spanish court's verdict in October.
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The Catalan independence movement is a social and political movement with roots in Catalan nationalism, which seeks a separate nation for Catalonia and not to be part of Spain. It began in 1922 when Francesc Macià founded the political party Estat Català. The movement has been a major challenge for the country for years, triggering the country’s biggest political crisis in decades with a short-lived independence declaration in 2017. It is evenly divided on the question of independence. Notably, pro-independence parties have never managed to win 50% of the vote in the regional parliament, and the October 2017 referendum held in defiance of the Spanish courts and constitution had a turnout of about 43%.
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