Thousands Gather in Barcelona to Support Catalan Independence Bid
Over a thousand people gathered in the second largest Spanish city of Barcelona to support the autonomous community of Catalonia’s bid for independence, local media reported.
Authorities estimated Tuesday’s rally gathered 650 people, while organizers claimed a turnout of several thousand at the Placa Sant Jaume square in the Catalan capital, Sputnik News reported on Wednesday citing Spanish Europa Press agency.
Catalan National Assembly (ANC) leader Jordi Sanchez was quoted addressing the crowd in full confidence they will make history on September 27, the date that Catalan President Artur Mas had set for the next regional elections.
“La Meridiana is all the people who want freedom for Catalonia and agrees with the right to decide.”
Responding to Mas on Tuesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said “nobody is going to turn citizens of Catalonia into foreigners in their own country.”
“No one is going to break up Spain in any way… which is what some people are attempting to do.”
Mas moved up the regional elections on Monday a year earlier, claiming that a simple majority among pro-independence parties would give impetus to Catalonia’s bid to secede from Spain within 18 months.
Catalonia, home to 7.5 people, generates a quarter of Spain’s tax revenue and one-fifth of its total output.
Catalans have accused Rajoy’s Popular Part of constraining the region’s economic, linguistic and cultural autonomy since it came to power in 2011.
On November 9, 2014, over 80 percent of Catalan voters supported secession from Spain in an informal vote on independence for the region where an estimated 40 percent turnout. Mas faces criminal charges for staging the independence vote.