Hundreds of thousands march for unified Spain, poll shows depths of division


BARCELONA (Reuters) – Hundreds of countless numbers of supporters of a unified Spain crammed Barcelona’s streets on Sunday in just one of the biggest demonstrates of drive still by the so-named silent bulk that has viewed as regional political leaders thrust for Catalan independence.

Political parties opposing a break up by Catalonia from Spain experienced a small guide in an belief poll printed on Sunday, the initial given that Madrid named a regional election to attempt to take care of the country’s worst political disaster in 4 many years.

Polls and modern elections have demonstrated that about 50 % the voters in the rich northeastern location, which is presently autonomous, oppose secession from Spain, but a vocal independence motion has brought the recent disaster to a head.

Spain’s central authorities named an election for Dec. 21 on Friday following sacking Catalonia’s president Carles Puigdemont, dissolving its parliament and dismissing its authorities. That adopted the assembly’s unilateral declaration of independence in a vote boycotted by 3 nationwide parties.

The regional authorities claimed it experienced a mandate to thrust ahead with independence adhering to an unofficial referendum on Oct. 1 which was ruled unlawful under Spanish legislation and generally boycotted by unionists.

Waving countless numbers of Spanish flags and singing “Viva España”, protesters on Sunday turned out in the premier exhibit of support for a united Spain given that the starting of the disaster — underlining the depth of division in Catalonia by itself.

“I‘m listed here to protect Spanish unity and the legislation,” stated Alfonso Machado, 55, a salesman standing with a very little girl with Spanish flags in her hair.

“Knowing that in the stop there won’t be independence, I feel sorry for all the persons tricked into considering there could be and the divisions they’ve pushed as a result of Catalan society.”


The poll of 1,000 persons by Sigma Dos for newspaper El Mundo confirmed unionist parties profitable 43.4 percent support and professional-independence parties 42.5 percent.

The study was taken from Monday to Thursday, just as the central authorities well prepared to take command of Catalonia.

Madrid stated on Saturday that secessionist politicians, including Puigdemont, had been free of charge to take component in the election. The hardline CUP has been unclear if it would.

The deposed Catalan authorities will shortly have to make hard selections, Puigdemont’s former deputy Oriol Junqueras stated on Sunday in an editorial in online newspaper El Punt Avui. He stopped small of stating his ERC occasion would take component in the election.

“We will need a shared strategy … it is significant to weave good alliances with people who are ready to build a state that serves its citizens,” he stated, maybe alluding to a rumoured alliance concerning the ERC and the Catalan arm of the anti-austerity Podemos occasion.

These an alliance could place the independence motion in hard place as it would signify a most important secession supporter joining forces with parties that reject Madrid’s hard line but do not support separatism.

Pro-unity supporters take component in a demonstration in central Barcelona, Spain, October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

With weeks to go prior to the election, the poll confirmed the CUP, kingmaker for the professional-secessionists in the dismissed 135-seat parliament, would acquire seven seats, down from a recent 10.

The professional-independence coalition Junts pel Si, which held 62 seats previously, was break up into parties PDeCat and ERC for the poll as they are not likely to operate on a one platform. The two would acquire concerning 54 and 58 seats in overall, the poll confirmed.

At Sunday’s rally, former European Parliament president Josep Borrell named for unionist voters to turn out in December to ensure independence supporters get rid of their stranglehold on the regional parliament.

“Maybe we’re listed here because a lot of of us in the course of elections did not go and vote. Now we have a golden chance. This time, no one should really remain at household,” Borrell stated to cheering crowds.


Puigdemont named on Saturday for tranquil opposition to Madrid’s takeover. But he was obscure on exactly what ways the secessionists would take as Spanish authorities transfer into Barcelona to implement command.

European international locations, the United States and Mexico have also rejected the Catalan declaration of independence and expressed support for Spain’s unity.

But feelings are operating superior and the future couple times will be tricky for Madrid as it embarks on imposing direct rule and putting officials in administrative roles. National law enforcement had been accused of heavy-handedness in the course of the Oct. 1 referendum.

Officers of the regional law enforcement drive, named the Mossos d‘Esquadra in Catalan, had been stationed in most important general public and authorities properties on Sunday.

But the drive is believed to have divided loyalties. The central authorities has taken out the Mossos’ main, Josep Lluis Trapero, and stated models could be changed if warranted.

In an open letter on Sunday, Inside Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido praised the Mossos for their perform and urged them to take short term direction from Madrid.

The most important secessionist team, the Catalan National Assembly, has urged civil servants not to comply with orders from the central authorities and to mount “peaceful resistance”, though the professional-independence trade union CSC has named a strike.

Puigdemont, Junqueras and their advisors still left the Catalan authorities offices on Friday, newspaper La Vanguardia claimed on Sunday, successfully handing the constructing above to Madrid and building a forced eviction on Monday considerably less very likely.

Since the return of democracy in the late 1970s Spain has endured several traumatic episodes, including an tried armed forces coup in 1981, a violent Basque separatist conflict, and extra lately an financial disaster. The Catalan challenge is nonetheless the biggest obstacle to the territorial integrity of what is now a progressive European Union nation.

The chaos has prompted an exodus of businesses from Catalonia, which contributes about a fifth of Spain’s economic system, the fourth-premier in the euro zone. Tourism to Barcelona has been hit and marketplaces have darted up and down on the rapidly-shifting developments.

European leaders have also denounced the thrust, fearing it could enthusiast separatist sentiment all-around the continent.

Reporting by Sonya Dowsett in Barcelona and Paul Working day and Tomas Cobos in Madrid Creating by Paul Working day Enhancing by Angus MacSwan and Catherine Evans

Our Specifications:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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