Tens of thousands of people gathered in Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday (October 7) as Catalonia prepared to declare independence, many dressed in white and calling for talks to defuse Spain’s worst political crisis for decades.
The flagless protest was called by Parlems (Let’s talk), a citizen’s organisation, in 50 Spanish cities where protesters all dressed in white.
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 on October 1 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, something Madrid says is illegal under the country’s 1978 constitution.
The political stand-off has divided the country, pushed banks and companies to move their headquarters outside Catalonia and shaken market confidence in the Spanish economy, prompting calls from the European Commission for Catalan and Spanish leaders to find a political solution.