Europe

Spain: Catalan independence leaders protest court probe

  • The president of the Catalonia region's parliament, Carme Forcadell waves to the crowd surrounded by pro-independence mayors and other elected officials on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, as she walks towards a court to testify for allowing lawmakers to debate earlier this year on the region's secession from Spain. Puigdemont plans to go ahead with a new referendum on independence by September despite a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court banning the vote. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    The president of the Catalonia region's parliament, Carme Forcadell waves to the crowd surrounded by pro-independence mayors and other elected officials on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, as she walks towards a court to testify for allowing lawmakers to debate earlier this year on the region's secession from Spain. Puigdemont plans to go ahead with a new referendum on independence by September despite a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court banning the vote. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • The president of the Catalonia region's parliament, Carme Forcadell, center, is surrounded by pro-independence mayors and other elected officials on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, as she walks towards a court to testify for allowing lawmakers to debate earlier this year on the region's secession from Spain. Puigdemont plans to go ahead with a new referendum on independence by September despite a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court banning the vote. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    The president of the Catalonia region's parliament, Carme Forcadell, center, is surrounded by pro-independence mayors and other elected officials on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, as she walks towards a court to testify for allowing lawmakers to debate earlier this year on the region's secession from Spain. Puigdemont plans to go ahead with a new referendum on independence by September despite a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court banning the vote. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

  • The president of the Catalonia region's parliament, Carme Forcadell, center, is surrounded by pro-independence mayors and other elected officials on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, as she walks towards a court to testify for allowing lawmakers to debate earlier this year on the region's secession from Spain. Puigdemont plans to go ahead with a new referendum on independence by September despite a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court banning the vote. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

    The president of the Catalonia region's parliament, Carme Forcadell, center, is surrounded by pro-independence mayors and other elected officials on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain, as she walks towards a court to testify for allowing lawmakers to debate earlier this year on the region's secession from Spain. Puigdemont plans to go ahead with a new referendum on independence by September despite a ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court banning the vote. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)  (The Associated Press)

A thousand Catalan town mayors and pro-independence supporters have gathered in Barcelona to support regional parliament speaker Carme Forcadell as she appears for questioning for allegedly disobeying rulings regarding Catalonia's plans to secede from Spain.

The crowd, including regional political figures, waved pro-independence flags and chanted secession slogans in a show of force as they accompanied Forcadell from the local parliament to a regional court Friday.

A leading figure in the independence movement, Forcadell is under investigation for allegedly disobeying Spain's Constitutional Court by allowing the parliament to approve a resolution expressing its intent to press ahead with secession.

Catalan authorities promise to bring about independence next year but Spain says it will not happen.

Polls show Catalonia's 7.5 million residents are equally divided on breaking from Spain.