Spain: Thousands protest Catalan independence | News | DW | 12.10.2019
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Spain: Thousands protest Catalan independence

On Spain's national day, thousands of people demonstrating against Catalan independence marched through Madrid. This comes ahead of the verdict in the trial of leading Catalan separatists.

Thousands of people opposed to Catalan independence took to the streets in Spain's capital, Madrid, on the country's national day on Saturday.

The demonstration comes ahead of the announcement of the verdict in the trial of leading Catalan separatists expected early next week.

The 12 defendants, most of them members of the former Catalan government, could face long prison terms if convicted for the 2017 independence bid that resulted a major political crisis. The main charges include rebellion and sedition.

Read more: How fair are the trials of Catalan pro-independence politicians?

The number of participants in Saturday's rally, some 10,000, was significantly lower than the 65,000 people who took part in a similar demonstration two years ago.

Meanwhile, activists from the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, the two biggest grassroots pro-independence groups, have called for rallies across the region when the verdicts are announced. There have also been calls for a general strike.

Fernando Sanchez, who leads the main anti-separatist group, Sociedad Civil Catalana, told journalists: "We want to make an appeal for calm and for responsibility."

In Madrid, King Felipe VI attended the traditional military parade, accompanied by Pedro Sanchez, prime minister of the outgoing socialist government, just weeks ahead of fresh parliamentary elections.

The leaders of all the main opposition parties also attended the Madrid event ahead of the November 10 elections, as did the presidents of all the Spanish regions — except for those from Catalonia and the Basque Country.

For years now neither region, both of which have strong separatist movements, has attended the event.

law/rc (AFP, EFE)

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