Catalan National Day: Hundreds of thousands demand independence from Spain

WA few days before talks between Spain’s central government and the Catalan regional government, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in Barcelona on Saturday for Catalonia’s independence from Spain. According to the separatist citizens’ movement of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), which, like every year on the Catalan national holiday, called Diada for the march through Barcelona, ​​around 400,000 people took part. That was significantly fewer than in the years before the corona pandemic, when in some cases more than a million people took part. There was initially no independent estimate of the number of participants.

Separatist spokesmen reaffirmed their demand for self-determination on Saturday. They want their region to be independent and separate from Spain. The central government, on the other hand, only wants to give the Catalans more autonomy. It is highly unlikely that Spain’s socialist head of government Pedro Sánchez will approve a referendum on independence. In addition, the Spanish constitution does not allow such a referendum. The population of Catalonia is divided. According to surveys, about half want independence, the other half don’t.

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ANC President Elisenda Paluzie called on all separatists to unite. In fact, however, they are divided over the path to independence: some want to persuade the central government to agree to a referendum on independence; Others consider this to be hopeless and, if necessary, want to separate the region in the northeast of the country from Spain, even against the resistance of Madrid.

The Diada is celebrated on September 11th every year. A defeat is celebrated in a rather unusual way: On this day in 1714, Barcelona was conquered by the troops of the Spanish King Philip V after the Catalans had supported his opponent in the War of the Spanish Succession. Catalonia lost its self-government.

On October 1, 2017, the separatists organized a referendum on their own initiative. As a result, Catalonia was temporarily placed under the direct administration of the headquarters. The then regional head of government Carles Puigdemont and some colleagues fled abroad, in February of this year his immunity and that of two of his colleagues were dissolved by the European Union. You have an uncertain future ahead of you. Other separatists were sentenced to long imprisonment but were pardoned in June. As a result, there had been considerable protests in Madrid in advance.

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