The rally took place on the first day of San Sebastian's traditional Semana Grande (Big Week) celebrations which will be carried out during eight days. The rallies at which the public demands the authorities to release the prisoners from the Basque ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) separatist organization are usually held during these celebrations.
Catalonia has been seeking independence from Spain for years. On November 9, 2014, about 80 percent of the Catalans who took part in a non-binding referendum on the region's status as part of Spain voted in favor of Catalonia becoming an independent state. The vote was, however, ruled unconstitutional by Madrid authorities.
On June 9, the president of the autonomous region, Carles Puigdemont, said that Catalonia would hold a unilateral referendum on independence on October 1, 2017, prompting criticism from Madrid.