The Latest: Top court rules Catalan referendum illegal

The Latest on Catalonia's drive for independence (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Spain's top court has officially ruled that Catalonia's disputed independence referendum was illegal because a regional law that backed it was against Spain's constitution.

The Catalan regional parliament passed the so-called "self-determination referendum law" in early September. Regional leaders went on to stage the Oct. 1 referendum on whether the region should separate from Spain.

Spain's Constitutional Court had earlier suspended the law temporarily while judges assessed the Spanish government's objection to it.

In its ruling Tuesday, the court says the law was against national sovereignty and the "indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation."

The court says that the parliamentary session that approved the law was also illegal.

Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull says he is not surprised. "We are facing an executive power in the state that uses the judiciary branch to block the legislative," he said.


11:40 a.m.

Protesters are gathering for a fresh round of demonstrations in Barcelona to demand the release of two leaders of Catalonia's pro-independence movement who were jailed in a sedition probe.

A Madrid judge on Monday provisionally jailed Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leaders of grassroots organizations Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural.

The judge ruled they were the orchestrators of massive demonstrations Sept. 20-21 in Barcelona that hindered a police operation against preparations for the Oct. 1 independence referendum.

Protests have been called at midday Tuesday in Barcelona, the Catalan capital, and an evening demonstration is also planned.

Thousands of supporters, carrying posters reading "Freedom for the political prisoners" banged pots and pans and honked car horns in Barcelona following the jailing Monday.