Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his government would pardon the nine jailed leaders of Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid on Tuesday as a first step towards ending the political conflict over the wealthy region.
Pro-independence parties won enough seats on Sunday in Catalonia’s Parliament to strengthen their majority, although a strong showing for the local branch of Spain’s ruling Socialists pointed to a dialogue, rather than breakup, with Madrid.
Catalonia’s regional leader, Quim Torra, told Reuters on Friday that he wants to agree on a date for an independence referendum as part of talks with the Spanish government, arguing that the region’s path toward secession is “irreversible.”
A court in Spain ruled Thursday that Catalonia's president Quim Torra was unfit to hold public office for 18 months because he failed to remove separatist symbols from public buildings during an election campaign.
Spain will deploy a large-scale security operation involving 3,000 personnel at the Clasico on Wednesday, when the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos look set to share the limelight with Catalan separatist protests.
Spain’s government dismissed calls on Saturday from Catalonia’s pro-independence regional chief for talks over a wave of violence sparked by the jailing of separatist leaders, as police braced for fresh protests.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators waving pro-independence flags and chanting "freedom for political prisoners" joined marches across Catalonia on Friday, the fifth day of protests against the jailing of nine separatist leaders over a failed bid to break away from Spain in 2017.