Wearing face masks, 1000’s of Catalans on Friday staged dozens of small protests calling for the area’s independence from Spain regardless of warnings from well being officers to keep away from gatherings in the course of the COVID19 pandemic.
- Last Updated: September 12, 2020, 1:03 AM IST
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BARCELONA: Wearing face masks, 1000’s of Catalans on Friday staged dozens of small protests calling for the area’s independence from Spain regardless of warnings from well being officers to keep away from gatherings in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All rallies revered social distancing and had been peaceable besides an unauthorized march within the night in central Barcelona through which a number of hundred separatist protesters, some with torches, burned a model with Spain’s King Felipe’s face and containers with the logos of Spanish companies and public establishments.
In the morning, unidentified folks had set fires at a number of factors of Catalonia’s rail community, forcing practice cancellations earlier than visitors was resumed 4 hours later.
In Catalonia, Sept. 11 marks “La Diada”, the anniversary of the autumn of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714, and has been marked lately by main separatist rallies because the pro-independence drive has dominated Spanish politics.
Close to 60,000 folks attended static protests throughout the area, in accordance with grassroots organizer Assemblea Nacional Catalana.
“We have held Europe’s largest COVID-adapted protest,” stated chairwoman Elisenda Paluzie, referring to the usage of masks, secure distancing and pre-registering of individuals.
“I can understand that some people could be afraid but organising a protest is compatible with the pandemic,” stated 25-year-old internet programmer Marc Purgimon at considered one of Assemblea’s Barcelona rallies. “It’s important to keep protesting against the repression that Catalonia suffers and for independence.”
There had been entry controls to the rally and individuals needed to stand at marked spots. Many wore shirts with this 12 months’s protest motto “The duty to build a better future” and waved separatist flags.
Spain has recorded greater than 560,000 circumstances of the novel coronavirus, greater than some other western European nation.
Manel Capdevila, 59, stated he needed to point out the remainder of Spain that the independence motion had not weakened regardless of the well being disaster and divisions between events: “We need to persist and say we want to decide our future and this will not stop.”
The area’s public well being secretary and the top of a docs’ affiliation had discouraged such gatherings, and the regional separatist authorities didn’t attend the protests.
Catalan authorities spokeswoman Meritxell Budo urged Madrid to comply with a referendum on independence and referred to as for an amnesty for 9 separatist leaders jailed for his or her function in a failed 2017 independence bid and for others who fled Spain then.
The authorities of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has dominated out any amnesty or referendum however has backed talks with Barcelona.
“We will keep working to achieve reconciliation in Catalonia from a dialogue within the constitution,” Sanchez tweeted.
Opinion polls present folks in Catalonia are break up on the problem of independence. The newest survey exhibits extra respondents in favour of their area remaining a part of Spain.
Separately, Catalan regional head of presidency Quim Torra on Friday provided to absorb refugees from Greece’s greatest migrant camp destroyed by fireplace on Wednesday.
“The government of Catalonia makes itself available to receive people seeking an opportunity to flee war, hunger and fear,” Torra tweeted.
The Spanish authorities makes the ultimate determination on admitting refugees.
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