Protests in Catalonia over detention of deposed leaders

Several major roads and some rail lines in Catalonia have been blocked by pro-independence activists protesting against the detention of the region’s deposed leaders, the BBC reports.

Separatist trade unions have called for a general strike but it has not been backed by the major unions.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called for a big turnout in the snap election so that Spain can get over the crisis.

In a speech to parliament, he defended imposing direct rule on Catalonia following its unilateral declaration of independence, and calling an election for 21 December.

Referring to ex-Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, Mr Rajoy said: “A regional leader cannot say the Constitution doesn’t rule in his territory. A regional leader cannot invent a parallel legal framework… and a regional leader cannot declare unilaterally the independence of part of the national territory.”

On Wednesday, some protesters across the region carried separatist flags and banners reading “Freedom for political prisoners”. Minor scuffles were reported when police moved in to remove protesters from some roads.

Universities also joined the strike but the adherence in other areas seemed to be low. Spanish law prohibits strikes for political motives and the unions say they are acting against job insecurity.

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