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65,000 defend Spain's unity in Barcelona

Protesters refuse dialogue with the Catalan executive on independence, some demanding prison sentences for "rebellion and sedition" against indy leaders

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12 October 2017 02:07 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

65,000 people took to the streets on Thursday in Barcelona to defend Spain's unity and protest against independence. As part of the events for Spain's National Day (12-O), several civil society organizations organized a demonstration that ended at the central Plaça de Catalunya square, near La Rambla. 

Many took part in the demonstration waving Spanish flags, while some also waved Catalan ones. The motto of the rally was 'Yes to Spain, Yes to Catalonia'. Amongst the participants, one could also see many posters against plans for independence, accusing the Catalan president of leading a 'coup.' There were also chants in favor of Spain's Guardia Civil police, and messages asking for Rajoy to "resign" and Puigdemont to be put "in prison."

Spokespeople from the organizations refused dialogue between the Catalan and Spanish government on independence. Some, such as Javier Megino, vice president of the 'Espanya i Catalans' group, demanded prison sentences for "rebellion and sedition" against pro-independence leaders. 

Miriam Tey, vice president of another organizing group, Societat Civil Catalana, said that events in the last few days have left Catalonia "without self-government." Tey said she is "disappointed, anxious and worried" about the future of Catalonia, and urged president Carles Puigdemont to be "responsible." "Only from unity, and never by behaving unilaterally, will we solve our problems," she said. 

Some political leaders from Catalonia also took part in the demonstration. It's the case of the leader of Ciutadans, Inés Arrimadas, who urged Pugidemont to "rectify" and "recognize" that his push towards independence is "damaging the Catalan society and economy." "He should call early elections," she said, adding that if the Catalan president doesn't do it, Madrid should intervene by invoking article 155 of the Spanish constitution and taking control of Catalonia's self-government. "We want to vote, we want a new government and a new president for all Catalans," she said.
 
Also in Barcelona, but in a different location, a group of around 350 people took part in an far-right demonstration for Spain's national day. The participants burnt some pro-independence flags and sang Francoist songs such as 'Cara al Sol'. During the march, they chanted against Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and against the pro-independence movement.

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  • Spanish flags in the rally in Barcelona in favor of Spain's unity (by Patricia Mateos)