BARCELONA, Spain– Protesters have taken to the streets, blocking the entrance to the famed La Sagrada Família church and numerous roads.

The protests are a result of the Spanish Supreme Court ruling that nine Catalonia independence leaders will receive nine to 13 years in prison. They are convicted of sedition as part of the 2017 independence referendum.

Catalan nationalists believe that Catalonia, the coastal region that shares a border with France and faces the Mediterranean, should be a separate country. They contend that they have a separate history and language that distinguishes them from the rest of Spain.

In addition to their culture, Catalan nationalists complain of Madrid spending too much tax money on poorer regions of the country. Catalonia is one of the wealthiest regions of Spain.

At the start of the week of Oct. 14, there were violent confrontations between police and protesters.

The Barcelona and Real Madrid football teams postponed a match they were to have on Oct. 26.

As of Friday, the protests have been peaceful.

This has been an ongoing contention in Spain, and likely will continue for the foreseeable future.