The protesters, many of whom made the journey from Catalonia, waved Catalan flags [Juan Medina/Reuters]

A huge crowd of demonstrators has rallied in Spain’s capital, Madrid, in a major show of support for 12 Catalan politicians and activists standing trial for their role in organising a failed independence bid in 2017.

Amid heavy police presence, nearly 400 buses on Saturday carried people from across the northeastern region of Catalonia to attend the gathering, the first major separatist march held in Madrid.

In unusual scenes for the capital, the central Paseo del Prado boulevard was steeped in red, yellow and blue, the colours of the Estelada flag of the Catalan independence movement.

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