Spanish prosecutor seeks 5 years jail for cream pie throwers

MADRID (AFP) - A Spanish prosecutor is demanding five years' imprisonment for four high-speed railway protesters who went on trial on Monday accused of throwing cream pies at a top regional official.

The defendants are accused of throwing cream pies at the head of government for the Navarre region, Ms Yolanda Barcina, during an official visit to the south-western French city of Toulouse in October 2011.

All four denied being in Toulouse at the time of the protest against a railway project as the case opened at Spain's top criminal tribunal, the National Court, Spanish media said.

Accusing them of a "criminal attack against authority", the prosecutor reportedly called for a sentence of five years in jail and a fine of 2,700 euros (S$4,543) for each of the accused.

The victim of the pie-hurling, represented in the court as a civil party, has called for a harsher punishment.

Her lawyer has demanded nine years in jail for one of the accused, Gorka Ovejero, because of the aggravating factor that he is an elected official in the Navarre municipality of Arruazu, and six years for the other three.

About 50 protesters against the railway project rallied outside the court in the Madrid district of San Fernando de Henares to show their support for the accused.

Activists opposed to a plan to build a high-speed railway link with France through the Spanish Basque Country and Navarre regions had claimed responsibility for the protest.

Ms Barcina, 53, took a cream pie to the face during her official visit to Toulouse for a meeting, which was open to the public, of officials from French and Spanish regions. She had to change clothes before returning for the end of the meeting.