Thousands take to the streets to celebrate independence declaration
CATALAN NEWS AGENCY – Some 6,000 independence supporters gathered in front of the Catalan government headquarters
Thousands of independence supporters took to the streets all across Catalonia after Parliament voted to leave Spain on Friday. As the political crisis between governments in Madrid and Barcelona entered unknown territory with the subsequent suspension of the Catalan executive and the dissolution of the Parliament by the Spanish government, many people continued to celebrate the independence declaration.
According to Barcelona’s local police, some 6,000 people gathered in front of the Catalan government’s headquarters in Sant Jaume square.
On Friday morning, people began gathering in Barcelona’s Ciutadella Park, where the legislative chamber is located, to closely follow the events taking place inside.
Amid fears that Spanish police might break into the chamber to stop the vote, citizens encircled the park in a symbolic act of support for Catalan institutions.
People held up signs in favor of independence, but also demanding the release of the two civil society leaders imprisoned since Monday last week on sedition charges.
It was not only in the Catalan capital that pro-independence supporters looked forward to seeing their long-awaited political goal achieved. Other cities and towns around Catalonia also saw people gathering in squares to follow today’s plenary session. And when the moment finally arrived, they could not hide their happiness.
Representatives of the main pro-independence organizations, without their imprisoned heads, also backed Catalan institutions.
“I hope the Spanish state can begin to understand that it is absurd to keep the Jordis in prison and also to use Article 155,” said Marcel Mauri, referring to the presidents of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, and the Catalan National Assembly, Jordi Sánchez. Mauri is Òmnium’s leader in substitution of Cuixart.
“Help the government build this republic”
“We serve the Catalan government and the Parliament and therefore our function from now on is to help the government build this republic,” said Agustí Alcoverro, Catalan National Assembly leader in substitution of Jordi Sánchez. “We hope that the people can celebrate it in a civic, peaceful and democratic way.”
The politicians eventually left the Parliament to join the cheering crowd for a celebration with one eye on Madrid, awaiting the Spanish government’s reaction.
Meanwhile, city councils and official buildings began removing the flags of a state they no longer consider themselves part of.