People packed Barcelona’s tree-lined boulevards waving independence flags. (AP: Emilio Morenatti)
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Barcelona to show their support for cutting ties with Spain.
- Rally had one of the highest turn-outs in recent years
- Catalonian leaders want independence vote in three weeks
- Catalonia is similar size to Belgium, has 7.5 million residents
As they do every year on September 11, residents of Catalonia gathered in large numbers, turning the Spanish city’s broad, tree-lined boulevards into a sea of yellow that evoked the yellow-and-red striped Catalan flag.
September 11 is the anniversary of the fall of the city to Spain in 1714 during the war of Spanish succession, and marks the “Diada”, Catalonia’s national day.
At exactly 5:14pm, the rallies began in a massive show of support for a new independence referendum.
“Yes, yes and yes, and we will fight for it until the end,” Catalonian Josep Jimenez said.
“Regardless of what the Spanish Government claims, Catalonia must be free and independent”.
The wealthy region of Catalonia in the north-east of the country already has some autonomy.
But in three weeks its leaders plan to hold a new independence referendum.
The vote is opposed by the national Government in Madrid and if it goes ahead, opinion polls suggest it could be close.
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