Floral tribute marks start of National Day celebrations
Catalonia's major political figures turn out to pay their respects at Rafael Casanova monument in Barcelona
As every year, Catalonia's National Day celebrations began in the morning with the traditional laying of floral tributes at the Rafael Casanova monument in Barcelona.
Among the country's leading political figures that attend the solemn event was president Quim Torra, parliament speaker Roger Torrent, and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau.
The annual ritual pays tribute to one of Catalonia's most important historical figures, who led the defense of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in the 18th century.
Injured during the fall of the city on September 11, 1714, when Catalonia lost its sovereignty, Casanova went on to become an icon in the demand for freedom and self-rule.
While a long-standing tradition, the floral tribute has taken on added significance in recent times due to the ongoing political conflict between Spain and Catalonia.
Catalan and Spanish anthems
All the tributes were accompanied by the Catalan national anthem, yet during the government's tribute, the Spanish national anthem could also be heard from a window of a nearby building.
The Socialists were the only unionist party to attend the commemoration, with Ciutadans and the People's Party rejecting to take part like every year.
Yet the PP's head in Barcelona, Josep Bou, laid some flowers alone and accused the pro-independence forces of having "hijacked" the figure of Casanova.
The two main pro-independence parties, Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana, took part in the tribute, while far-left CUP, who also hold a pro-independence stance, organized their own event.
Organizations from the civil society, including the main trade unions, the pro-independence ANC and Òmnium groups, the Catalan public TV, and football teams FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol, also attended.