Thousands of Catalans call for independence in Barcelona | Europe up-to-date | DW

Spain, Barcelona |  5th anniversary of the independence referendum

Supporters of independence from Spain gathered at the Arc de Triomphe in central Barcelona. According to a police estimate, around 11,000 people attended the rally. Among other things, the demonstrators demanded the resignation of the regional government of Prime Minister Pere Aragonés, who, in their opinion, is acting too hesitantly with regard to the establishment of an independent Catalan republic. So far he has not kept his campaign promise.

The president of the citizens’ movement ANC, Dolors Feliú, demanded from Aragonés “a plan for the realization of independence”. She made it clear: “If they (the politicians) can’t do it, we will do it. They won’t be able to stop us.” You will demand new elections and compete with your own party. The President of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Mònica Roca, made a similar statement in her speech. “Revolutions are made by civil society and citizens, not by politicians.” The majority of Catalonia’s entrepreneurs are also in favor of secession because the region is being economically disadvantaged by the central government.

Spain, Barcelona |  5th anniversary of the independence referendum

300 voting boxes from the 2017 referendum stand in front of the seat of the regional government

Aragonés, meanwhile, said in a statement that his coalition government is still striving for independence, but wants to secure a referendum agreed with the central government. “We held the referendum (October 1, 2017) and we will get Catalonia to vote again,” said the politician from the left-wing ERC party. “We will do it again because many of us want Catalonia to be a free country.” Socialist Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offers Aragonés further autonomy rights but categorically rejects an independence referendum.

Government crisis in Barcelona

The anniversary is overshadowed by a government crisis in Catalonia. Aragonés fired his deputy Jordi Puigneró from the liberal-conservative JuntsXCat on Wednesday. JuntsXCat criticizes Aragonés’ “cuddle policy” towards the left-leaning central government in Madrid and had publicly raised the possibility of a vote of no confidence.

After the 2017 referendum and a subsequent decision to separate from Spain, Catalonia was placed under receivership by the then conservative central government of Mariano Rajoy. 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 were pardoned in 2021. Hard-line separatists view Aragones’ plan to ask Spain to hold an authorized referendum as abandoning the legacy of the 2017 vote.

kle/wa (dpa, ap)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here