Rally in Spanish city supports Catalan independence
Hundreds of demonstrators have taken to the streets in the city of Palma to express their support for the independence of the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia from Spain.
Protesters marched through the capital of the Mediterranean island of Majorca, waving Catalan flags and carrying pro-independence banners.
Majorca is not considered a part of modern Catalonia, but historically, the island was part of a larger Catalonia that included the Balearic Islands.
The first language of island residents is Catalan and many of them identify themselves as Catalans.
Spanish pro-independence parties, which triumphed in the local parliamentary polls in September, insist that Catalonia is entitled to self-rule since it possesses its own language and distinct culture.
Back in November, Catalan lawmakers in Barcelona kicked off the process of breaking away from Spain, aiming to achieve political independence by 2017, amid strong opposition from Madrid.
More than 70 parliamentarians voted in favor of the resolution for secession in a vote held in the Catalan parliament on November 9.
In November 2014, Catalonia staged a symbolic independence referendum after authorities in Madrid blocked a bid to hold an official poll.
Nearly 80 percent of the 2.2 million people who took part in the vote backed independence, though the turnout was slightly more than 40 percent.
Many Catalans believe their economy would be more prosperous on its own, complaining that a high portion of their taxes goes to the central government.
Home to nearly 7.5 million people, Catalonia’s productivity makes up around a fifth of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP).