By Ron Howells • 12 September 2021 • 8:08
Thousands of Catalans in Barcelona rally for independence from Spain. image: Twitter
Thousands of Catalans in Barcelona rally for independence from Spain.
Thousands of Catalans chanted, sang and waved flags as they marched through Barcelona on Saturday, September 11, calling for the region’s independence from Spain.
The march was the first since Spain’s government pardoned nine Catalan separatist leaders who had been jailed for their role in a 2017 botched bid for independence, which was Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades and was organised by the grassroots Assemblea Nacional Catalana ANC.
Most marchers observed covid protocols and wore face coverings. Police said about 108,000 people took par- ANC however put the figure closer to 400,000.
The figure was lower than in 2019, when about 600,000 marched, and last year when only small static protests were organised to comply with the strict COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time.
Some of the nine pardoned politicians and activists attended Saturday’s protests, it has yet to be decided if they broke any sentencing laws by participating in the rally.
In Catalonia, Sept. 11 marks La Diada, the anniversary of the fall of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714 and it has been marked in the past decade by 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,” said ANC chairwoman Elisenda Paluzie.
Cultural activist Jordi Cuixart, who was among those jailed, urged the crowd to continue to fight 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 said.
The protests took place at a moment of lower tension between Barcelona and Madrid than in past years as the central and regional governments favour dialogue despite their opposing views on independence.
The central and regional governments are expected to meet next week in Barcelona to resume talks on Catalonia’s political conflict, which have been suspended since Feb. 2020.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has not confirmed yet whether he will attend, and the risk of the talks being overshadowed by a recent clash between both governments related to Barcelona’s airport.
The Spanish government has said it is cancelling a proposed 1.7-billion-euro investment to expand El Prat airport, saying it lacked backing from regional authorities who have questioned its potential environmental impact while accusing Madrid of acting dishonestly.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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