17:57 GMT +316 December 2017
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    People wave pro-independence Catalan flags, known as the Estelada flag, during a rally calling for the independence of Catalonia, in Barcelona, Spain.

    Rally Supporting Catalonia's Independence From Spain Held in Basque Country

    © AP Photo/ Francisco Seco
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    A rally in support of independence of Spain's Catalonia region from Madrid took place in the city of San Sebastian in the Spanish autonomous Basque Country.

    MADRID (Sputnik) — The demonstration on Saturday was organized by the Basque far-left pro-independence EH Bildu party. As part of the event, the party's member Maddalen Iriarte Okinena called on Madrid to allow "the Basque Country and Catalonia determine their future."

    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.

    Related:

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    Bill Allowing Catalonia Independence Within 48 Hours of Referendum Enters Parl't
    Some 30,000 Rally to Support Catalonia's Independence Referendum
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    independence, rally, Spain, Catalonia
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