Thousands of Catalans rallies for independence in Barcelona streets
Thousands of Catalans marched for independence in Barcelona by waving flags and singing songs
Thousands of Catalans chanted, sang and waved flags as they marched through Barcelona on Saturday, calling for the region's independence from Spain.
Qazet.az reports citing Reuters that the march, organized by the grassroots Assemblea Nacional Catalana ANC, was the first since Spain's government pardoned nine Catalan separatist leaders who had been jailed for their role in a 2017 botched bid for independence, which was Spain's biggest political crisis in decades.
Most marchers wore face coverings. Police said about 108,000 people took part. ANC put the figure close to 400,000.
The figure was lower than in 2019, when about 600,000 marched, and last year when only small static protests were organized to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
The central and regional governments are expected to meet next week in Barcelona to resume talks on Catalonia's political conflict, which have been suspended since Feb. 2020.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has not confirmed yet whether he will attend, and the talks risk being overshadowed by a recent clash between both governments related to Barcelona's airport.
The Spanish government has said it is canceling a proposed 1.7-billion-euro ($2-billion) investment to expand the airport, saying it lacked backing from regional authorities who have questioned its potential environmental impact while accusing Madrid of acting dishonestly.