Protests across Spain for and against Catalan independence

  • 08/10/2017

Tens of thousands of Spaniards have taken to the streets as Catalan leaders consider further moves towards independence.

A huge rally for national unity filled one of the main squares in Madrid, while hundreds of smaller ones took place across the country.

They're demanding the two sides start talking to each other.

The wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, with its own language and culture, has long claimed to be distinct from the rest of the country and last weekend held a referendum on leaving Spain, a vote the constitutional court had banned.

The Catalan authorities say that a majority of those who voted supported a split from Spain. Madrid says secession is illegal under the country's 1978 constitution.

In Barcelona, protesters chanted "let's talk" in Catalan, while many carried signs criticising political leaders for not finding a diplomatic solution to the impasse.

"This is producing a social rupture in Catalonia and this has to be resolved through dialogue, never via unilateralism," Jose Manuel Garcia, 61, an economist who attended the protest dressed in white said.

"I'm very worried. This will end badly and everyone will lose [without dialogue]."

Meanwhile, in Madrid, parallel to the 'Let's talk' march, thousands gathered beneath the enormous Spanish flag in Colon Plaza waving their own flags, singing and chanting "Viva España" and "Viva Catalonia".

Concern is growing in EU capitals about the impact of the crisis on the Spanish economy, the fourth largest in the euro zone, and on possible spillovers to other economies.

Reuters / Newshub.