World Bulletin / News Desk
A protest is expected in Barcelona Saturday calling for the release of jailed separatist leaders, the day after pro-independence Catalan parliamentarian Carme Forcadell was freed on bail.
Forcadell, the sacked speaker of Catalonia's parliament, left a prison near Madrid on Friday hours after supporters posted her bail of 150,000 euros ($175,000), ending her brief detention.
A judge at the Supreme Court in Madrid on Thursday had ordered Forcadell to be held on charges of "rebellion" -- which carries a maximum jail term of 30 years -- as Spain's worst political crisis in a generation rumbles on.
She was one of several dismissed Catalan officials to be detained after their shock decision last month to declare the region of 7.5 million people independent from Spain.
Forcadell appeared at the Supreme Court in Madrid on Thursday along with five former Catalan lawmakers.
The others were given a temporary reprieve by the judge, who said they must pay 25,000 euros each within a week or be detained.
Acting judge Pablo Llarena said his decision to grant bail was made after they either "renounced all future political activity" or agreed to respect the law, according to a court document.
The Catalan crisis has caused shock waves across the European Union (EU), prompting nearly 2,400 businesses to move their legal headquarters and re-register outside of the wealthy northeastern region.
Lawmakers opted to split from Spain, claiming they had a mandate after a referendum on October 1 in which 90 percent of voters backed secession.
But less than half of the electorate took part in a vote denounced as illegitimate by Madrid, and Catalans themselves remain deeply split over whether their region should break away from the eurozone's fourth-largest economy.
After the declaration, Madrid dismissed Catalonia's government, dissolved parliament, suspended the region's autonomy and called new elections for the region next month.
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