Barcelona: tens of thousands demand early regional elections

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Barcelona: tens of thousands demand early regional elections

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Tens of thousands of people crowded into central Barcelona on Sunday demanding the Catalan regional government hold early elections.

The protesters are upset Catalan President Artur Mas changed an independence referendum scheduled for next month to a non-binding “consultation of citizens” known as 9-N after the Spanish government ruled the referendum illegal.

Carme Forcadell, Catalan Nacional Assembly Head addressed the crowd, saying: “We will back 9-N, but we demand political union and we call for elections. President, call for elections. President, we want to vote within three months.”

Some hope early elections will favour the more radical wing of the Catalan independence movement and speed up the independence process.

Others do not want total independence from Spain and the EU.

“Catalonia will never be an independent state that could survive independently if it refuses to first negotiate with Spain or negotiate with the European Union,” said Josep Duran i Lleida, member of Unió Democrática de Catalunya party (UDC).

Polls show around half of Catalans want more independence from Spain.

A vast majority favour a vote on their future.