Protesters in Spain's National Day rally in Barcelona refuse amnesty for independence leaders

Around 1,000 demonstrators call for end to ‘concessions on separatists’ in Catalan capital, Spanish PM booed in Madrid

Image of the Spanish national day demonstration in Barcelona with a banner reading 'Enough concessions'
Image of the Spanish national day demonstration in Barcelona with a banner reading 'Enough concessions' / Albert Hernàndez
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

October 12, 2023 01:52 PM

October 31, 2023 04:54 PM

Around 900 people, according to local police, attended the annual Spanish National Day rally in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon.

‘Enough concessions’ was the motto of the event, with protesters making explicit their opposition to talks between pro-independence parties and the left-wing Spanish government regarding amnesty for individuals involved in the 2017 referendum bid.

The protest took place in Barcelona’s iconic Passeig de Gràcia boulevard, with representatives of unionist right-wing political forces People’s Party, Vox and Ciudadanos.

October 12 commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas, a celebration that is increasingly contested for its connection to the massive genocide of Indigenous peoples across the continent.

Responding to the holiday, the Catalan Equality Ministry said on X, formerly Twitter, that “the wrongly called discovery of America” is in fact “the beginning of one of the largest-scaled genocides in history and a violent colonization, with systematic breaches of what we call today human rights.”

‘Jail Puigdemont,’ ‘Abascal for President’ chants heard in the rally

Chants of ‘jail Puigdemont’ were heard in the rally, referring to the former Catalan President who has been in exile since the 2017 independence push and may be able to return if an amnesty is approved.

‘Abascal for President’ was another popular chant, as some demonstrators supported the leader of far-right Vox party as Spain’s prime minister.

The organizers of the event, Espanya i Catalans (translated to Spain and Catalans), told the press that “all the demands separatists make cannot be met.”

“They are leading us to ruin, so we have to back Spain’s unity and the fact of being Hispanic,” said representative Javier Megino.

The People’s Party leader in Catalonia, Alejandro Fernández, said that “there cannot be a political class who can commit crimes and then not only do they not get punished, but get amnesty.”

Vox MP Joan Garriga said the Quebec-style Clarity Act promoted by the Catalan government aims to “split Spain” and divide Catalans.

Nazi salute in annual far-right rally

Elsewhere, a far-right rally was held in Barcelona's Montjuïc mountain, as it's done every year on this date. Around one hundred people attended, with some singing 'Cara el Sol,' one of the hymns from Spain's Fascist dictatorship led by Francisco Franco.

Fascist signs, such as Spain's flag from the Franco era and the Nazi salute, were also spotted at the event, where Puigdemont, the Spanish government, right-wing parties and the King of Spain were blasted.

‘Que te vote Txapote’

In Madrid, the traditional Spanish National Day military march was attended by the King of Spain, Felipe VI, and the acting Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, both of whom were met with boos.

Sánchez also faced chants such as ‘Que te vote Txapote’, or ‘May Txapote vote for you,’ referring to a famous leader of the armed Basque group ETA. Sánchez is attempting to form a new government after the hung July election by trying to garner support from both pro-independence Catalan and Basque parties.