With the trial of Catalan leaders starting in the Supreme Court in Madrid last week, Saturday saw a march in Barcelona to show support for the former officials and activists being prosecuted for organising the independence bid in 2017. According to the local police, the demonstration was 200,000-strong, while organisers gave the number of 500,000 people.

Called by a range of pro-independence organisations, the demonstration aimed to protest against “intolerance, injustice and those who want to infringe fundamental rights,” in the words of Òmnium Cultural’s vice president, Marcel Mauri. The organisation president Jordi Cuixart is one of those 12 leaders on trial in Madrid.

I want to testify too

As well as the Catalan independence estelades flags, and the color yellow, worn in support of leaders in pre-trial prison and exile, the protest saw signs in reference to the trial, with signs reading such messages as “I want to testify too.”

The general atmosphere of the protest early on -which by 5pm was already filled with people- was as always a celebratory one, despite somber moments in which pro-independence officials spoke against the trial and in support of Catalan leaders.

Self-determination is a right, not a crime

On Friday, Mauri called on the public to join the march, saying “it is more urgent than ever that all of us take to the streets and tomorrow we will fill the Gran Via Avenue in defense of basic rights and the right to self-determination.”

Under the slogan “Self-determination is a right, not a crime,” the rally began at 5pm in Barcelona’s Espanya square, going all the way down Gran Via Avenue to Plaça Universitat Square.

The unitary march was called by the pro-independence ANC and Òmnium Cultural organisations, as well as the political parties Junts per Catalunya, ERC, CUP, Catalunya en Comú, and the USTEC-STEs and Intersindical-CSC unions, among other groups.