A DEMONSTRATION by Catalan nationalists whose MEPs are barred has been held at the European Parliament's first session after Europe-wide elections in May.

Catalan independence supporters protested against the decision to deny a seat to Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont.

Inside the chamber fellow MEPs placed photos of the missing members on their desks.

Former Catalonia president Puigdemont and colleague Toni Comin were barred from taking their seats because they had fled to Brussels after a banned referendum on independence went ahead and had not attended a swearing-in ceremony in Madrid as required.

Another separatist leader, Oriol Junqueras, is in detention and on trial in Spain.

See the pictures in the photo gallery above.

The European Parliament's new five-year session re-opened in Strasbourg as EU leaders went into a third day of talks on who should fill the bloc's top jobs.

But the length of the UK's involvement remains in doubt.

UK MEPs may sit in the parliament until the country formally leaves the EU.

A deadline of October 31 has currently been set for the UK to leave, though this could be extended if a deal is not found by then.