Spain cel­e­brates na­tional day amid Cata­lan se­ces­sion cri­sis

Truro Daily News - - WORLD -

Thou­sands of Cata­lans who want their re­gion to re­main in Spain marked the coun­try’s na­tional day Thursday, march­ing through Barcelona wav­ing both Span­ish and Cata­lan flags and shout­ing “I am Span­ish,” as the re­gion’s threats of in­de­pen­dence have left the coun­try in cri­sis.

Mean­while, in the na­tional cap­i­tal Madrid, troops and po­lice pa­raded in front of King Felipe VI, ac­com­pa­nied by na­tional and re­gional politi­cians. Thou­sands of peo­ple wav­ing Span­ish flags lined the side­walk of Madrid’s Paseo de la Castel­lana av­enue for the mil­i­tary parade.

The pi­lot of a fighter jet tak­ing part in the Madrid parade died when the plane crashed while land­ing at a base in Al­bacete, some 300 kilo­me­tres south­east of the Span­ish cap­i­tal, au­thor­i­ties said.

In Barcelona, Cat­alo­nia’s cap­i­tal, a crowd of peo­ple that lo­cal po­lice said num­bered 65,000 marched to a cen­tral square, some with their faces in the red and yel­low colours of both the Span­ish and Cata­lan flags and shout­ing “Viva Es­pana” - “Long live Spain.”

“We are now feel­ing that years of threats by sep­a­ratists have turned into an at­tempt to nor­mal­ize so­cial di­vi­sion,” said Juan Jose Garde, a 63-year-old re­tired civil ser­vant who was join­ing a na­tional day march for the first time af­ter years of en­joy­ing the hol­i­day by tak­ing his fam­ily to the beach.

For many oth­ers, Thursday’s march in cen­tral Barcelona was also a first.

Montse Sanchez, a 56-year-old Cata­lan bank clerk, said she only felt the urge to protest when the sep­a­ratists’ bid re­cently be­came “an im­po­si­tion of thought.”

“They want to im­pose on us the ideas of one, but in Cat­alo­nia we are more than one, we are many peo­ple with very dif­fer­ent feel­ings to­ward na­tion­al­ity,” she said.

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