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Spaniards for unity

  • Written by AFP
  • Published in World
  • Read: 389

BARCELONA -- Pressure mounted on Monday against Catalan plans to declare independence after hundreds of thousands of protesters rallied to defend Spanish unity.

The protests followed days of soaring tensions after police cracked down on voters during a banned October 1 Catalan independence referendum, prompting separatist leaders to warn they would unilaterally break away from Spain in days.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who has yet to decide whether to declare independence in defiance of Spanish authorities, is set to address the regional parliament on Tuesday evening.

Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving demonstrators, calling themselves a “silent majority”, packed central Barcelona on Sunday to protest against the plan, which has sparked the country’s worst political crisis in a generation.

Around 350,000 people attended the rally, municipal police said, while organizers put turnout at between 930,000 and 950,000.