Massive rally for Catalonia's secession in Barcelona

  • Protesters hold esteladas or independence flags as they take part in a demonstration during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia are gathering in Barcelona on the region's main holiday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement.

    Protesters hold esteladas or independence flags as they take part in a demonstration during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia are gathering in Barcelona on the region's main holiday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement. Associated Press

  • Protesters hold esteladas or independence flags as they take part in a demonstration during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia are gathering in Barcelona on the region's main holiday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement.

    Protesters hold esteladas or independence flags as they take part in a demonstration during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia are gathering in Barcelona on the region's main holiday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement. Associated Press

  • A man holding an independence flag is seen through the smoke thrown by demonstrators during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714.

    A man holding an independence flag is seen through the smoke thrown by demonstrators during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714. Associated Press

  • Protesters hold independence flags and flares during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714.

    Protesters hold independence flags and flares during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714. Associated Press

  • Protesters hold independence flags and flares during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714.

    Protesters hold independence flags and flares during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714. Associated Press

  • Demonstrators, one of them holding a banner reading in Catalan "fascists get out", march during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714.

    Demonstrators, one of them holding a banner reading in Catalan "fascists get out", march during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714. Associated Press

  • Protesters hold independence flags during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714.

    Protesters hold independence flags during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714. Associated Press

  • Men dressed in costume shoot their rifles during a performance to celebrate the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714.

    Men dressed in costume shoot their rifles during a performance to celebrate the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of the Catalan capital to Spanish forces in 1714. Associated Press

  • A group reenacts Catalan army units from the War of the Spanish Succession during a performance to celebrate the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714.

    A group reenacts Catalan army units from the War of the Spanish Succession during a performance to celebrate the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714. Associated Press

  • An Ukranian tourist poses for a snapshot with a Catalan independence flag during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714.

    An Ukranian tourist poses for a snapshot with a Catalan independence flag during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. The traditional September 11, called "Diada", marks the fall of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714. Associated Press

  • Protesters hold esteladas or independence flags as they take part in a demonstration during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia are gathering in Barcelona on the region's main holiday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement.

    Protesters hold esteladas or independence flags as they take part in a demonstration during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia are gathering in Barcelona on the region's main holiday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement. Associated Press

  • Protesters hold esteladas or independence flags as they take part in a demonstration during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia are gathering in Barcelona on the region's main holiday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement.

    Protesters hold esteladas or independence flags as they take part in a demonstration during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia are gathering in Barcelona on the region's main holiday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/11/2019 11:19 AM

BARCELONA, Spain -- Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards who support the secession of Catalonia gathered in Barcelona on the region's main holiday Wednesday, just weeks before a highly anticipated verdict in a case against 12 leaders of the separatist movement.

Supporters of Catalan secession came from all parts of the wealthy northeastern region to its main city. Many carried flags or wore T-shirts supporting Catalan independence as they met for the rally in a large public square.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Sept. 11 holiday memorializes the fall of Barcelona in the Spanish War of Succession in 1714. Since 2012, it has become the date of massive rallies for the region's secessionist movement.

The Barcelona police said that around 600,000 people turned out for the event.

Polls and the most recent election results show that the region's 7.5 million residents are roughly equally split between those in favor and those against breaking with the rest of Spain.

Spain's caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, who has tried to thaw tensions with Catalonia since taking power last year, wrote on Twitter that "Today should be a day for all Catalans. For the path of dialogue within the Constitution, harmonious coexistence, respect and understanding."

This year's rally comes while a dozen leaders of Catalonia's 2017 failed attempt to secede await a verdict from the Supreme Court on charges that include rebellion. They face spending several years behind bars if found guilty, and a heavy punishment would most likely spark public protests in Catalonia. The verdict is expected this month or next.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The movement, however, is going through its most difficult period since separatist sentiment was fueled by the previous decade's economic difficulties, from which Spain has only recovered in recent years.

The pro-secession political parties have yet to agree on what the response to a guilty verdict by the Supreme Court should be. That has earned the criticism of the leading grassroots groups which have fueled the secessionist drive.

Regional Catalan president Quim Torra says that a guilty verdict would provide an opportunity to make another push for independence, without specifying how that could be carried out.

"The objective of independence should be the horizon of this country after the verdict," he said in a recent interview on Catalan public television.

Other separatist politicians think the best move is to call regional elections in an attempt to increase their representation in the regional parliament and focus on gaining the backing of more than half of Catalans.

But some activists have accused all their political leaders of not taking concrete steps to achieve their goal. Radical activists recently expressed their anger by throwing garbage and excrement on the doors of the offices of pro-secession parties.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.