Trial of Catalan separatists begins in Madrid amid protests
By Associated Press
Feb 12, 2019 3:07 AM CST
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FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 file photo, Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, center, is greeted after a vote on independence in the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, Spain. Spain's Supreme Court is bracing to hold the nation's most sensitive trial in four decades of democracy this week with...  (Associated Press)

MADRID (AP) — Protesters have blocked highways in Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia, as the trial of separatist leaders gets underway in the country's Supreme Court in Madrid.

Tuesday's protests were timed with the start of arguably Spain's most consequential trial in four decades of democracy.

Twelve defendants are being tried for their roles in pushing ahead with a unilateral independence declaration based on the results of a secession referendum that ignored a constitutional ban. Some face decades in prison if they are found guilty of rebellion.

The proceedings are being broadcast live on television.

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