Catalonia Protesters Demand Release of Separatist Leaders
Tens of thousands of people protested Tuesday night in Barcelona against the Spanish government's detention of two Catalan separatist leaders.
The demonstrators carried candles and banners demanding the release of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who are being held on possible sedition charges. Prosecutors accuse Cuixart of the Omnium Cultural movement and Sanchez of the Catalan National Assembly of provoking violence against police during a pro-independence march last month.
Catalan leaders have called the two political prisoners, which the government denies.
Earlier Tuesday, Spain's top court ruled Catalonia's independence referendum was illegal, saying that regional law backing the vote violated Spain's constitution.
The Catalan government had passed the "self-determination referendum law" on September 6. Spain's high court said the law must be suspended temporarily as it assessed the Spanish government's opposition to it, but Catalonia went ahead with the referendum on October 1.
According to court regulations, the suspension was to last five months while judges come up with a ruling, but the pro-independence coalition ruling Catalonia claimed that the universal right to self-determination outweighs Spain's laws.
Israel Says No Talks with a Palestinian Government that Includes Hamas
Israel says it will not talk with a Palestinian government that includes the militant group Hamas unless a number of demands are met.
"The government of Israel will not carry out political negotiations with a Palestinian government that relies on Hamas, a terror organization which calls for the destruction of Israel," a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office Tuesday.
The statement spelled several conditions if there are ever to be talks. They include Hamas' disarmament, its repudiation of violence, and recognition of Israel.
Netanyahu also wants Hamas to give up Iranian support and return the remains of two Israeli soldiers and free two Israeli citizens believed to be held in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
There is little chance Hamas will agree to any of Israel's demands. Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called them "unacceptable Israeli interference in internal Palestinian affairs."
A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said "any Israeli remarks will not change the official Palestinian position to move forward with the reconciliation efforts to achieve the hopes and aspirations of our people in ending the division."
Hamas and the more moderate Fatah movement reached a preliminary agreement last week to re-unify after a 10-year split.