A human tide of more than a million people has swept the streets of Barcelona.
Led by the present and two previous presidents of the region of Catalonia, the huge crowd came to express its anger at a Spanish Constitutional Court ruling trimming Catalan self-rule.
“They’ve closed a door on us,” said Artur Mas, President of the centre-right Catalan party Convergencia i Unio.
“They’re now saying the Spanish Constitution is rigid and fixed rather than flexible and open.
“I think Catalonia must change strategy and really push for the right to decide its future.”
Manuela de Madre, Vice-President of the Socialist Party of Catalonia added: “We’re here to show our displeasure with the verdict, to demand the autonomy that was approved by the Catalan people.
“This rally demonstrates our dignity and national will.”
One party not present was the Conservative Popular Party.
Last month the Constitutional Court ratified most of an autonomy deal that was signed between Barcelona and Madrid in 2006.
But it ruled the definition of Catalonia as a “nation” had no legal value and that the Catalan language should not take precedence over Spanish.