On Sunday, hundreds and thousands of Catalans were out on the Barcelona streets, to raise their voice against to the region’s declaration of independence amid vast political uncertainty for the region in northeast Spain.
In Madrid, the central authorities fired Catalonia’s political leader on Saturday, who are trying to tame the worst political crisis Spain has seen in decades. So far, Catalan’s former leader has insinuated that he won’t step down.
In the protest the protesters described themselves as the silent majority who have been ignored during the wealthy region’s bid for independence, they showed their disagreement by waving Spanish, Catalan and European Union flags, which came to a head Friday when the regional parliament voted to secede from Spain.
Alex Ramos, head of Catalan Civil Society, a pro-union grassroots group said: “We have organized ourselves late, but we are here to show that there is a majority of Catalans that are no longer silent and that no longer want to be silenced.”
As per the organizers, there were more than 1 million people, who turned out but police put the figure at 300,000, as there was no way to immediately reconcile the figures.
On Sunday’s the festive rally holds banner:
- “We won’t let Spain be torn apart into pieces”
- “The awakening of a silenced nation”
Spain’s government has said the ousted Catalan leaders could be charged with usurping others’ functions if they refuse to comply with their firing. Mr. Puigdemont and his ministers could face prison for their separatist actions. Spanish prosecutors have also said they may consider rebellion charges against leading separatists.
The ousted vice president of Catalonia’s rebellious government, Oriol Junqueras, wrote in an open letter Sunday saying that separatists should consider participating in the election Rajoy called for Dec. 21. Top politicians hoped to use Sunday’s rally, as their election campaigns launch.
Albert Rivera, the leader of the centre-right Citizens party said “It’s time to take over the streets and take over the ballot boxes,” The goal was to defend Spain’s unity and reject “an unprecedented attack in the history of democracy.”
Angelita Cuesta, a 66-year-old retiree at the rally said “Catalan leaders have broken the law. The central government has let this situation go for too long, for even 30 or 40 years, thinking that we were never going to arrive at this extreme, but here we are, Our society is fractured, there are family members and friends who no longer can talk about politics to avoid conflict.”
Josep Borrell, former European Parliament president, keeping in mind about the Sunday rally said “the central government’s move to take control of some regional affairs was the only thing preventing a full-blown economic crisis in Catalonia. If the government had not triggered its constitutional powers to run Catalonia, “many of you would have lost your jobs”.
He said. “If that hasn’t happened, it’s because … businesses and markets understand that there won’t be (secession).” More than 1,700 companies have already relocated their headquarters to other parts of Spain.
So the fear of political turmoil prevails in Catalonia, it could have a severe economic impact, both in the region and in Spain itself.