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Thousands take to streets in 10th straight mass National Day pro-independence rally - live updates

Organizers say 400,000 people attended the protest

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11 September 2021 04:31 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Thousands of people took to the streets in Barcelona on Sunday afternoon, marking the tenth year in a row that a massive pro-independence rally is held for Catalonia's National Day. 

The grassroots group Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the organizers of the event, 400,000 people attended, but Barcelona's local police estimated the attendance at 108,000 – both figures are very far from the peak Diada rallies in the mid-2010s, with up to 1.8 million people taking to the streets.

Check out our latest podcast on La Diada to find out all about the National Day and the pro-independence demonstrations in detail: 

In the morning, Catalan officials attended the floral tribute to national hero Rafael Casanova. "Today we are taking to the streets so that we are as strong as ever in these talks with Spain next week," said presidency minister Laura Vilagrà. In contrast, unionist parties accused pro-independence forces of appropriating the National Holiday and turning it into an "exclusionary" celebration. 

This year’s rally began in Barcelona at 5:14 pm in Plaça Urquinaona (the scene of violent clashes between police and rioters following the sentencing of pro-independence leaders in 2019), and ended at the Estació de França station, near the Catalan parliament.

When the main rally ended, thousands of pro-independence supporters stayed in Via Laietana, the street in the center of Barcelona where the Spanish police headquarters are located. Some protesters threw rocks at the police officers guarding the building, and they responded by dispersing the crowd with their batons.

Follow the latest developments live 

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  • Thousands taking to the streets for 2021 National Day pro-independence demonstration, on September 11, 2021 (by Cillian Shields)

  • Thousands taking to the streets for 2021 National Day pro-independence demonstration, on September 11, 2021 (by Cillian Shields)

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