MADRID     -      Spain’s Supreme Court has jailed nine prominent Catalan separatist leaders for sedition over their roles in the failed push for independence two years ago, triggering angry protests in Catalonia and renewed calls for a political solution to the long-running territorial dispute.

Protesters took to the streets and others tried to blockade the main terminal at Barcelona airport after the court acquitted the nine defendants of the charge of violent rebellion but convicted them variously of sedition, misuse of public funds and disobedience. The region’s former vice-president Oriol Junqueras was convicted of sedition and misuse of public funds and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was also banned from holding public office for 13 years.

The former Catalan foreign minister Raül Romeva, labour minister Dolors Bassa and regional government spokesman Jordi Turull were each convicted of the same offences and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment and handed 12-year bans on holding office.

Carme Forcadell, a former speaker of the Catalan parliament, was sentenced to 11 and a half years.