Wearing face masks and conserving distance, hundreds of Catalans on Friday held dozens of small protests calling for the area’s independence from Spain regardless of warnings from well being officers to keep away from gatherings amid the COVID19 pandemic.
- Last Updated: September 11, 2020, 11:36 PM IST
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BARCELONA: Wearing face masks and conserving distance, hundreds of Catalans on Friday held dozens of small protests calling for the area’s independence from Spain regardless of warnings from well being officers to keep away from gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early on Friday, unidentified folks set fires at a number of factors of Catalonia’s rail community, forcing a number of practice cancellations earlier than site visitors was resumed 4 hours later. There have been few indicators of tensions within the afternoon.
In Catalonia, Sept. 11 marks “La Diada”, the anniversary of the autumn of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714, and has been marked in recent times by main separatist rallies because the pro-independence drive has dominated Spanish politics.
Close to 60,000 folks attended the rallies, in line 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, protected distancing and pre-registering of contributors.
“I can understand that some people could be afraid but organising a protest is compatible with the pandemic,” stated 25-year-old net programmer Marc Purgimon at certainly one of Barcelona’s rallies. “It’s important to keep protesting against the repression that Catalonia suffers and to ask for independence.”
There have been entry controls to the rally and contributors needed to stand at marked spots. Many wore shirts with this yr’s protest motto “The duty to build a better future” and waved separatist flags.
Spain has recorded greater than 560,000 circumstances for the reason that onset of the pandemic, greater than another western European nation.
Manel Capdevila, 59, stated he needed to indicate the remainder of Spain that the independence motion had not weakened regardless of the well being disaster: “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 known as for an amnesty for 9 separatist leaders jailed for his or her position 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 difficulty of independence. The newest survey exhibits extra respondents in favour of their area remaining a part of Spain.
Catalan regional president Quim Torra on Friday supplied to absorb refugees from Greece’s largest migrant camp destroyed by hearth 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 choice on admitting refugees.
(Additional reporting by Nathan Allen; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Janet Lawrence)
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