Over 8,000 demonstrators in favour of Catalan independence gathered in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, in support of the three elected Catalan deputies who were prevented by the Spanish authorities from taking oath in Madrid and therefore occupying their seats in the European Parliament Hemicycle.

The rally, organised by the Council for the Catlan Republic under the slogan “Let’s fill Strasbourg”, laid claim to the parliamentary seats of former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont as well as Oriol Junqueras and Antoni Comin.

Aerial images show the magnitude of the protest, which was surrounded by strong security measures.

The demonstrators carried Catalan flags and posters in favour of independence, with one reading: “Long live the Republic, out with repression.”

Puigdemont, who was expected to attend the rally, eventually ruled out entering French territory for fear of being arrested.

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