Separatists in Catalonia plan to come out in force Monday when the Spanish region's former leader, Artur Mas, stands trial over a non-binding independence referendum he held, further straining ties with Madrid.
Supporters of independence for the wealthy, northeastern region say they hope to draw at least 30,000 protestors on the large avenue next to the Barcelona court Monday morning.
Inside, Mas -- who was president of the semi-autonomous region from 2010 to 2016 -- his former vice-president Joana Ortega and Irene Rigau, the official once responsible for education in Catalonia, will face accusations of "serious civil disobedience" and "misfeasance".
Prosecutors want them banned from holding public office for nine to 10 years for having organised a symbolic, non-binding referendum in November 2014 in public schools, despite a ban from the Constitutional Court.
- 2.3 million 'on trial' -
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