Catalonia: Separatists gather in Barcelona

In Barcelona, ​​on the Catalan national holiday Diada, tens of thousands of people took to the streets for the region's detachment from Spain.

But the movement is divided. / Catalonia: Separatists gather in Barcelona

Almost five years after the failed secession of Catalonia from Spain, 150,000 people demonstrated in Barcelona on the Catalan national holiday Diada, according to the police, for the independence of the region. Sunday’s rally themed, “Let’s Return to Win: Independence!” The organizer, the separatist civil movement ANC, spoke of 700,000 participants, as reported by the newspaper “La Vanguardia”. Observers had expected fewer people to attend than last year. In 2021, the police counted 108,000 participants, but the ANC identified 400,000.

Dispute within the movement

The rally this year was marked by disputes within the separatist movement. The left-wing ERC party of regional president Pere Aragonès, which is willing to negotiate with Madrid, and the Junts party, which is banking on a break with Madrid, are facing each other.

Illegal referendum 2017

On October 1, five years ago, the separatist regional government held an illegal referendum on secession from Spain. As a result, Catalonia was temporarily placed under forced administration by the central government.

The regional head of government at the time, Carles Puigdemont, and some of his fellow campaigners fled abroad. Other separatists were sentenced to long prison terms but pardoned in 2021. The Diada is celebrated every year on September 11th and commemorates the loss of Catalan autonomy in 1714.

The Diada brings together 150,000 protesters, one of the lowest figures since 2012

The demonstration, which no member of the ERC leadership has attended, is one of the least crowded since the ‘procés’ began.

Some 150,000 people, according to the Guàrdia Urbana, have attended this afternoon the demonstration called by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) on the occasion of the Diada, the lowest figure in the last decade, with the exception of the two years of pandemic.

The demonstration, which no member of the ERC leadership has attended and whose motto this year is “Tornem-hi per vèncer. Independència”, is one of the least crowded since the procés began, far from the historical ones marches that exceeded one million attendees in the years 2018, 2017 or 2014.

In 2019, the Guàrdia Urbana estimated the number of attendees at 600,000 and last year, still in a pandemic, the march brought together 108,000 people, while in September 2020, under the restrictions of the coronavirus, the act consisted of a static demonstration, with reserved distances and seats, attended by 59,500 people.

To relive the massive demonstrations of the Diada, we must go back to 2018, at the height of the procés, when nearly a million people gathered in Barcelona to demand independence, a figure similar to that of 2017, just weeks before the referendum of the 1 -EITHER.

In 2016, when it was decentralized to be convened in several Catalan cities, the Diada demonstration gathered 875,000 people, below the 1.4 million in 2015 and the record reached in 2014, with 1.8 million attendees, according to the calculations of the Barcelona Urban Guard.

The human chain for independence that ran throughout Catalonia in 2013 had 1.6 million participants -according to data from the Department of the Interior-, while the 2012 Diada mobilized 1.5 million pro-independence protesters.

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