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Hundreds of Catalans rally for independence in Barcelona

BARCELONA: Hundreds of Catalans chanted, sang and waved flags as they marched by way of Barcelona on Saturday (Sep 11), calling for the area’s independence from Spain.

The march, organised by the grassroots Assemblea Nacional Catalana [ANC], was the primary since Spain’s authorities pardoned 9 Catalan separatist leaders who had been jailed for his or her function in a 2017 botched bid for independence, which was Spain’s largest political disaster in a long time.

Most marchers wore face coverings. Police mentioned about 108,000 folks took half. ANC put the determine near 400,000.

The determine was decrease than in 2019, when about 600,000 marched, and final yr, when solely small static protests have been organised to adjust to COVID-19 restrictions.

A few 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 has been marked previously decade by separatist rallies.

“For the primary time in 4 years, 9 very particular folks have participated in La Diada once more. The political prisoners are again on the streets,” mentioned ANC chairwoman Elisenda Paluzie.

Cultural activist Jordi Cuixart, who was amongst these jailed, urged the group to proceed to battle for independence.

“Those that ask us to show the web page and are not looking for us to battle for self-determination… What’s Spain’s plan for Catalonia? None. Solely repression and extra repression,” he mentioned.

The protests befell at a second of decrease stress between Barcelona and Madrid than in previous years because the central and regional governments favour dialogue regardless of their opposing views on independence.

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

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has not confirmed but whether or not he’ll attend, and the talks danger being overshadowed by a current conflict between each governments associated to Barcelona’s airport.

The Spanish authorities has mentioned it’s cancelling a proposed 1.7-billion-euro (US$2-billion) funding to increase the airport, saying it lacked backing from regional authorities who’ve questioned its potential environmental influence whereas accusing Madrid of performing dishonestly.

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