BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Nearly 50,000 people marched through Brussels’ European quarter on Thursday in support of Catalan independence and the region’s president, who has avoided arrest in Spain by taking refuge in Belgium.

Ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont takes part in a pro-independence rally for Catalonia, in Brussels, in Brussels, Belgium December 7, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Before Carles Puigdemont addressed the crowd, many draped in Catalan flags, police estimated its size at 45,000. There were chants of “Puigdemont, President” from a generally good-natured throng, many of whom had

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