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Thousands of pro-independence protesters rally in Barcelona ahead of Catalan elections

Thousands of pro-independence protesters rally in Barcelona ahead of Catalan elections

© Albert Gea

A massive pro-independence demonstration in Barcelona, Spain drew thousands of people on Friday just two days before parliamentary elections in Catalonia. The Catalan president has promised to break with Spain in “18 months to 2 years” in case of a win.

Huge crowds waving red-and-yellow flags with a white star on a blue triangular – esteladas – filled the streets of Barcelona to show their commitment to Catalan independence, pictures posted on social media showed.

As the mass rally was taking place in Catalonia, Spain’s ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) issued a video in which its senior members, including Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, called on Catalans to reject the move.

“United we will win,” Rajoy said in Catalan.

Parliamentary elections will be held in Catalonia on Sunday. Supporters of Catalan independence regard the vote as a form of independence referendum. They are counting on a decisive victory for the “Junts pel Sí” (“Together for yes”) coalition that advocates secession for the region.

“Clearly, if we get a majority of the votes on September 27, then that’s the referendum done,” Artur Mas, Catalonia’s President said on Wednesday. He also promised to declare independence in 18 months to two years if the “Junts pel Sí” movement wins at the polls.

 

Mas also warned Madrid that Catalonia, which is Spain’s richest region, producing about one fifth of its entire GDP, will not help Spain pay off its debts if it blocks the referendum on Catalan independence.

“If it does not make an agreement with Catalonia, how will Spain be able to pay back its debts, which will rise to 120 percent of its output, while it loses the most productive part of its economy?” he asked.

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