Catalans Demo for Independence From Spain

Catalans Demo for Independence From SpainCatalans Demo for Independence From Spain

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets across the region to demand independence from the Spanish state.

The demonstration coincided with Catalonia’s National Day. Some 800,000 people took part in the Barcelona rally on Sunday, according to police, many of them wearing white T-shirts bearing the word “Ready.”

Participants, many draped in blue, red and yellow pro-independence banners, gathered in the city’s Ciutadella Park ahead of the demonstration and held yellow cardboard signs to simulate a beating heart, Deutsche Welle reported.

The event was held on “Diada” that marks the 1714 conquest of Barcelona by Spain’s King Felipe V after a siege that lasted more than a year.

Secessionist parties won a clear majority in Catalonia’s regional parliament for the first time ever last year and approved a plan to achieve independence in mid-2017.

However, the plan ran into trouble in June when the winning coalition government lost the support of the small anti-capitalist CUP party, which has a hard line on independence.

Pro-independence supporters said they hoped the mass protest would reinvigorate the process of secession.

“This is the moment to stand united for the ‘yes’ to the Catalan Republic,” said Jordi Sanchez, head of the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly organization. “We are impatient,” he added.

Carles Puigdemont, the head of Catalonia’s regional government, told a meeting of foreign journalists ahead of the rally that “critical decisions” were to be taken in the months to come.

The separatist movement burst into life in 2012, amid deep economic crisis and the intensifying standoff with Madrid.