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Oct 18, 5:09 AM EDT

Lawmakers protest jailing of Catalan secession leaders

AP Photo
AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

MADRID (AP) -- About 50 Spanish and Catalan party lawmakers have held up posters in Spain's parliament demanding the release of two pro-Catalonia independence movement leaders, describing them as political prisoners.

Wednesday's protest in Madrid lasted around 15 seconds before the lawmakers heeded warnings that they were out of order and sat down.

The demonstration was over Monday's jailing of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the Catalan grassroots organizations Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, in a sedition investigation. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Tuesday in Catalonia, demanding their release.

Spain has given the pro-independence regional president of Catalonia until Thursday morning to clarify if he has declared independence or not. Otherwise, the government may seize control of the semi-autonomous region, moving the conflict with the region to another level.

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