A PROTEST MARCH by thousands of pro-unity demonstrators was held in Barcelona on January 31.
Reports confirm that some 3,500 people convened at St. Jaume Square in Catalonia’s capital, to oppose the secessionist stance of the region’s newly elected government headed by President Carles Puigdemont.
Mr Puigdemont, who is said to be even more pro-separatist than his predecessor, Artur Mas, recently told the Catalan parliament that he would guide the country towards “the Catalonia that we want” by 2017 but has since softened his position and accepts that he will need to have a new constitution ratified by the people of Catalonia.
In November 2015, when Artur Mas was still president of the region, a resolution was passed after its parliament’s ministers voted 72/135 in favour of seceding from Spain, allowing secessionists an 18-month journey to independence which could see the autonomous region have its own constitution, judicial systems, state institutions and central bank.
It is thought that the current stalemate in Spanish politics will further enflame pro-separatist Catalan residents, who have already expressed their dissatisfaction at their taxes being used to prop up poorer areas of the country.
Spain’s current leader Mariano Rajoy of the People’s Party has labelled the secession road map as “illegal”. Speaking after the resolution to start the process was first passed, in November 2015, he said “they are trying to liquidate the unity of a nation with more than five centuries of history”.
There are several other parties opposing secession in Catalonia, including Cuidadanos (Citizens) and the Catalan Socialists.
Warnings have also been issued by EU officials stating that Catalonia would be kicked out of the block and have to re-apply for admission if secession was ever granted.