People walk past a Spanish and an estelada, or independence flag, hanging up for sale in a shop in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 11, 2017.
People walk past a Spanish and an estelada, or independence flag, hanging up for sale in a shop in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 11, 2017.

Key figures in the push for independence in Spain’s Catalonia region:

Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont addre
Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont addresses to the media after a ceremony commemorating the 77th anniversary of the death of Catalan leader Lluis Companys at the Montjuic Cemetery in Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 15, 2017.

?Carles Puigdemont

  • President of the autonomous region since January 2016
  • Worked as a journalist before entering politics
  • Served as mayor of the city of Girona
  • Has long been an advocate of independence for Catalonia
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gestures as h
Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gestures as he delivers a statement at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Oct. 11, 2017.

?Mariano Rajoy

  • Prime minister of Spain since December 2011
  • Championed austerity measures in response to the country’s financial crisis
  • Faced public opposition and his Popular Party lost its parliamentary majority in 2015
  • For the past year he has led a minority government
  • Has strongly opposed Catalonia’s independence efforts

Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart

  • Key figures in the Catalonia separatist movement
  • Sanchez heads the Catalan National Assembly
  • Cuixart leads Omnium Cultural
  • Both were arrested on accusations they provoked violence against police during a pro-independence march last month
  • Tens of thousands of people gathered to protest their detention