Pro-union Catalans rally against independence
A huge pro-union Catalan protest was held in Barcelona yesterday (Sunday), a day after two pro-independence rallies.
Police said yesterday’s rally attracted 80,000 while organisers Societat Civil Catalana, an anti-independence umbrella group, estimated the attendance at 400,000.
“We feel the need to shout that Catalonia is a part of Spain,” said truck driver Francisco Astorga Vasco, 52.
“They are trying to make it look like Catalonia is not Spain, and that is not true. Not in the past, not in the present, and not in the plans we have for our future.”
“Unlike the separatists, we neither want nor need frontiers or walls,” said leader Fernando Sanchez Costa. Pro-independence regional government head Quim Torra should resign “if he can’t govern for all Catalans”, Sanchez Costa reportedly said.
Around 350,000 attended a separatist march on Saturday organised by civil rights groups, police said, hours before a separate pro-independence rally outside the Spanish police headquarters turned violent leaving 44 people injured, according to the regional health authorities.
Protesters stretched from the city’s waterfront to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia.
Independence is highly divisive in Catalonia, with a poll in July showing 44 per cent backing secession and 48 per cent opposing it.
“It is time to sit down and talk,” one pro-independence protester told the media. “I think it is time for the state to find a solution because it seems that this has no end and we are always at the same point. We have come here because we are fed up with so much repression that we have suffered from the state.”
Another demonstrator added: “We have always defended non-violence. What is happening in Barcelona is not a reflection of us, we separatists are not violent, we want our country, we want to be free.”
All Spain’s major political parties have rejected calls for Catalan independence with only left-wing Podemos accepting the possibility of a referendum, following the illegal poll in October 2017.
Mayors of 814 out of Catalonia’s 947 municipal authorities met at the regional government to meet Catalan President Quim Torra.
The mayors chanted “independence” and Torra said Catalans must oppose “repression” and “force the Spanish state to talk”.
More than 500 people have been hurt, nearly half of them police officers, in clashes since the October 14 Supreme Court verdict.
Nine Catalan political leaders and activists were this month sentenced to lengthy jail terms over their roles in the divisive independence bid.
Pro-independence protest. Picture credit: YouTube