MEPs from different countries and ideologies came together outside the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday morning to demand the release of Catalan political leaders in jail and exile charged with rebellion.

The protest, marking a year since the first two were incarcerated, was joined by some members of the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform, which includes a diverse group of European political representatives calling on the Union to dialogue and mediate between Catalonia and Spain.

Among those present at the protest in the EU capital were the head of the Platform, Ivo Vajgl, also Slovenian former foreign minister, and some other 15 MEPs including the Flemish ones Mark Demesmaeker and Helga Stevens, the Portuguese representative Antonio Marinho e Pinto, and the Swedish MEP Bodil Valero among others.

EU looks away

Vajgl said that they will keep on protesting and saying that the EU and its institutions cannot look the other way. “Spain has still room to avoid a shameful political process against the political prisoners,” he added, despite saying he does not expect that it occurs.

Three Catalan MEPs, the Labour minister Chakir El Homrani, and former minister Meritxell Serret, who is still in exile in Brussels, also took part in the protest.

It has now been a year since the first pro-independence leaders, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, were remanded in custody as part of the judicial case over the organizing of the October 1 independence referendum.