Thousands of Catalans rally for independence in Barcelona


BARCELONA (Reuters) – Thousands of Catalans chanted, sang and waved flags as they marched via Barcelona on Saturday, calling for the area’s independence from Spain.

The march, organised by means of the grassroots Assemblea Nacional Catalana [ANC], was once the primary since Spain’s govt pardoned 9 Catalan separatist leaders who were jailed for his or her position in a 2017 botched bid for independence, which was once Spain’s greatest political disaster in a long time.

Most marchers wore face coverings. Police mentioned about 108,000 other people took section. ANC put the determine with reference to 400,000.

The determine was once not up to in 2019, when about 600,000 marched, and final yr, when simplest small static protests have been organised to agree to COVID-19 restrictions.

Some of the 9 pardoned politicians and activists attended Saturday’s protests. In Catalonia, Sept. 11 marks La Diada, the anniversary of the autumn of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714 and it’s been marked up to now decade by means of separatist rallies.

“For the first time in four years, nine very special people have participated in La Diada again. The political prisoners are back on the streets,” mentioned ANC chairwoman Elisenda Paluzie.

Cultural activist Jordi Cuixart, who was once amongst the ones jailed, advised the group to proceed to combat for independence.

“Those who ask us to turn the page and do not want us to fight for self-determination… What is Spain’s plan for Catalonia? None. Only repression and more repression,” he mentioned.

The protests came about at a second of decrease pressure between Barcelona and Madrid than in previous years because the central and regional governments favour discussion regardless of their opposing perspectives on independence.

The central and regional governments are anticipated to fulfill subsequent week in Barcelona to renew talks on Catalonia’s political war, that have been suspended since Feb. 2020.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has now not showed but whether or not he’ll attend, and the talks possibility being overshadowed by means of a contemporary conflict between each governments associated with Barcelona’s airport.

The Spanish govt has mentioned it’s cancelling a proposed 1.7-billion-euro ($2-billion) funding to extend the airport, pronouncing it lacked backing from regional government who’ve puzzled its attainable environmental have an effect on whilst accusing Madrid of appearing dishonestly.

($1 = 0.8465 euros)

(Reporting by means of Joan Faus, Jessica Jones and Albert Gea, Editing by means of Timothy Heritage)

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