Several thousand young Catalan separatists demonstrated in the Spanish city of Barcelona on Sunday (11 September) to demand home rule for the region.
Several thousand young Catalan separatists demonstrated in the Spanish city of Barcelona on Sunday (11 September) to demand home rule for the region. The rally coincided with other mass demonstrations in the region calling for varying degrees of independence.
SYNOPSIS: The Barcelona demonstration was part of several Catalan National Day celebrations, backed by all the region's political parties. The march through the city streets was preceded by thousands of cars sounding their horns to the chanted slogan 'freedom, amnesty and statute of autonomy'. The whole event was brightly coloured with the red and yellow stripes of Catalonia appearing on everything from shirts to flags to icing on celebration cakes.
Catalan nationalism goes back several centuries, and today it's concerned with recovering the limited home rule achieved between 1931 and 1938. During those years, the region was self-governing - but the late dictator, General Francisco Franco, took it over after it opposed him in the Spanish civil war.
One of the central figures in the current campaign is Josep Tarradellas, a former Prime Minister of Catalonia's brief home rule. Another Catalan leader, Felix Cucurull, told the crowd that this year would be the last time that they would celebrate national day without home rule. The Spanish government has already agreed in principle to allow the region to re-establish its home rule government - the Generalitat - but with less power than previously. The Spanish national news agency, CIFRA, has published details of three proposed royal decrees, provisionally establishing the Generalitat. The agency said the exact degree of self-rule under the Generalitat would be determined by a mixed commission of government and Catalan representatives. But some nationalists feel it's not enough they want full independence immediately.