TENS of thousands of people are marching through the streets of Barcelona demanding that the regional government step up its efforts to secure full independence from Madrid.
Thousands more are expected to line the streets of hundreds of Catalan towns and villages as the breakaway region celebrates its National Day on September 11, a year after a secessionist coalition gained a clear majority in the regional parliament.
Pro-independence demonstrations are a regular part of the National Day celebrations, particularly in recent years as the movement has gained significant political and electoral traction.
“I encourage you to fill the streets,” said Catalan president Carles Puigdemont in a video released prior to the demonstration. “We have to show that we are ready to finish this process that will convert Catalonia into an independent state”.
Meanwhile in Madrid an enormous anti-bullfighting protest has drawn thousands to the capital’s streets calling for bullfighting and the Bourbons (Spain’s royal family) to find a new home in the country’s museums.
Illegal in Catalonia and banned throughout many regions, bullfighting is facing the largest challenge to date to its emblematic status as a Spanish sporting tradition with younger generations in particular representing the turning tide of public opinion.