Riots Reported During Huge Rally for Catalan Independence in Barcelona - Videos
01:50 GMT 12.09.2021 (Updated: 03:35 GMT 12.09.2021)
© REUTERS / ALBERT GEAA person holds a smoke bomb during Catalonia's national day 'La Diada' in Barcelona, Spain, September 11, 2021.
© REUTERS / ALBERT GEA
Clashes were reported between separatists and police. It is not clear if any arrests have been conducted.
Thousands of Catalans hit the streets of Barcelona on Saturday, calling for the independence of Catalonia from Spain.
Rallies on September 11— The National Day of Catalonia — have become a tradition for Catalans over the last decade, with tens of thousands of citizens taking part annually. This year, according to Assemblea Nacional Catalana, some 400,000 people turned out for the demonstration.
Barcelona City Guard, however, claimed the number was around 108,000.
Catalans were seen waving regional flags, singing songs, and chanting traditional slogans.
This year's event follows a move by the Spanish government to pardon Catalan politicians sentenced for organizing an independence referendum in 2017.
Speaking to an audience on Saturday, the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, who was released from jail in July, claimed that Spain has no plans for Catalonia except for "repression and even greater repression", and that separatists will never give up.
At some point, however, the event turned violent, as some Catalans were seen throwing fireworks at police. They also burned pictures of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the head of Catalonia's regional government, Pere Aragones.
Fires and overall chaos can be seen on some videos circulating online.
The Spanish PM on Saturday tweeted his congratulations to Catalans on their national day and called for "reunion, affection and harmony".
In late June, Sanchez ruled out any possibility of Catalonia obtaining independence from Spain, "unless those who defend it manage to convince three-fifths of this Chamber to modify the Constitution and vote".