CATALAN separatists prepare to declare independence from Spain following Spanish Government’s decision to impose direct rule.
Around 450,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona today (Saturday) to protest Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s announcement that members of the Catalan parliament will be sacked and elections will be held in the region within the next six months.
The march was headed by important regional officials, including Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont.
Puigdemont gave a speech to address the situation, declaring that imposing direct rule was an “attack” on the region. He revealed that he will call a meeting of the Catalan parliament to discuss the next steps towards separating from Spain.
He also claimed that “all attempts at dialogue (with Madrid) have been met by the same response: either silence or repression”.
Protesters also demanded the release of pro-independence activists Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart who were arrested last week and sent to prison for allegedly provoking disobedience.
Marta Rovira, the general secretary of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), said that “the Parliament needs to start building this republic without further delay,” claiming that it is the only way to give the Catalan people back their rights.