Catalans have started withdrawing 150 or 160 euros ($188) from banks that have moved their headquarters. The action is in reference to Article 155 of the Spanish constitution which allows for taking control of Catalonia.
"It's time to show that even little steps, if made by many of us, can change a lot," said Catalan pro-independence group Omnium Cultural, one of many organization which have called on Catalans to withdraw money from banks that have recently moved their headquarters elsewhere amid the current political crisis.
It argued pressure had to be exerted on financial institutions that had made the decision to move out of Catalonia.
"These banks are traitors," shop owner Oriol Mauri told the AP news agency. "They need to see that it's a lot of us who are angry."
On Friday morning, people were seen lining up at CaixaBank branches and other bank branches in downtown Barcelona, most of them withdrawing either 150 or 160 euros ($188) from ATMs. The amounts were closest to 155, in reference to the Spanish constitutional article with which the central government plans to revoke some of Catalonia's autonomous powers to prevent regional politicians from pushing ahead with secession.
Targeting the money
CaixaBank and Banco Sabadell are the largest Catalan lenders and have joined hundreds of other financial institutions in moving their official registration out of Catalonia.
Ana Coll, one of those making a symbolic withdrawal Friday, said "we need to step up our actions and do something that really hurts, and that is targeting the money."
The mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, told reporters she thought the call to withdraw money "was probably not the smartest idea." But she added that the latest moves by Madrid would certainly "mobilize even more people in Catalonia to fight for independence."
hg/jd (AP, dpa)