Catalan radicals plan protests against the Royals
4 October 2007, MADRID -(AFP) - Seven left-wing Catalan separatist groups, whose members recently burnt pictures of King Juan Carlos, vowed Wednesday to step up protests to demand independence for the rich northeastern Spanish region.
4 October 2007
MADRID -(AFP) - Seven left-wing Catalan separatist groups, whose members recently burnt pictures of King Juan Carlos, vowed Wednesday to step up protests to demand independence for the rich northeastern Spanish region.
Some 30 protests will be held between Thursday and October 18 in Catalonia, as well as in the eastern region of Valencia and the Balearic Islands where Catalan is also spoken, the groups said in a statement.
The first protests will be held Thursday at universities in the cities of Alicante, Barcelona, Gerona, Lerida and Valencia.
Spanish prosecutors Tuesday requested 15 months' jail for two Catalan separatists who burned photos of the Spanish monarch and his wife Queen Sofia during a visit by the royal couple to Gerona on September 13.
The announcement that prosecutors intended to charge those who burned pictures with the crime of insulting the royal family have prompted new protests in Catalonia where more photos of the king have been burned.
The left-wing Catalan separatist groups, which are republican, condemned the decision to take legal action against those who burned pictures of the king, saying it was a legitimate symbolic act.
King Juan Carlos took the rare step Monday of defending the monarchy's role, saying during a speech in the northern town of Oviedo that it had acted as a guarantor of stability and prosperity.
The demands of Catalan and Basque nationalists are becoming major campaign themes ahead of March 2008 legislative elections.
A sizeable minority of Catalans would like to see the region, home to seven million of Spain's 44 million inhabitants, and which already enjoys considerable autonomy, achieve independence from Spain.
Subject: Spanish news