Updated: 18/10/17 : 07:05:15
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World :: Protests in Catalonia after Spain jails separatists

Tens of thousands have gathered in Barcelona for a candlelit protest after two leaders of the Catalan separatist movement were jailed.

Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart are being held without bail while they are under investigation for sedition.

The men were leading figures in the disputed 1 October independence vote, which Madrid has branded illegal.

Spain's Constitutional Court appeared to back central government's position on Tuesday, ruling the vote void.

It had initially suspended the law used by Catalan authorities to call the referendum.

However, Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull suggested neither the court decision nor the imprisonment of Mr Sánchez and Mr Cuixart was going to stop the drive for independence, telling reporters "surrender is not something this government is considering".

The air of defiance carried into Tuesday evening, when separatists carrying candles and chanting "We're all Jordis" gathered in Barcelona's Plaza Constitució protesting Mr Sánchez and Mr Cuixart's imprisonment - a move which many on the pro-independence side see as politically motivated.

The city's municipal police estimated the number of people in Barcelona to be around 200,000, while protests also took place in other Catalan cities, including Girona and Reus.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has already signed a declaration of independence, but halted its implementation to allow negotiations as he called for talks to take place over the next two months.

The position still stands, Mr Turull said.

But the Spanish government has warned that Catalonia must revoke the declaration or face direct rule from Madrid.

Mr Puigdemont has also angered Madrid by refusing to clarify whether or not he declared independence last week. He has until Thursday to clarify his position.