The rally is held six months after the detention of the leaders of Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural organizations. A number of local politicians, including the speaker of the regional parliament and the mayor of Barcelona, are taking part in the event.
According to the local police, about 315,000 people participate in the demonstration held under the slogan "For rights and freedoms, for democracy and cohesion, we want you home!"
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The rally was organized by the Catalan pro-independence groups and trade unions.
On October 1, Catalonia held an independence referendum, during which the vast majority of voters backed the region's secession from Spain. The plebiscite was not recognized by Madrid, which subsequently imposed direct rule over the autonomous region and dismissed its government. A number of activists and several ministers of the former Catalan government were arrested, while several others managed to leave Spain.