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From Madrid to Barcelona: following the journey of one pro-unity protester

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From Madrid to Barcelona: following the journey of one pro-unity protester

From Madrid to Barcelona: following the journey of one pro-unity protester
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Olga Demestres woke up early on Sunday in order to take part in the Spanish unity protests in Barcelona. She is a Catalan who lives in Madrid.

Although she thinks the central government shares responsibility for the current political crisis, she is against the push for independence by the Catalan authorities.

Olga’s partner is from Madrid, but she wants to preserve Catalan culture in her family.

“I speak to my son in Catalan because it’s my language, I speak with my family in Catalan and I believe that the culture is not solely the property of the independence movement,” she said.

Olga is the only member of her family who lives outside of Catalonia. Two of her three siblings support independence, while her brother and parents want to remain part of Spain. On social media
conversations about politics have become impossible.

Around a dozen coaches financed by the pro-unity Catalan Civil Society left the Spanish capital in the early hours for the long overnight journey.

After more than 600 kilometers and nine hours on the road Olga arrived in Barcelona. Delighted by the large crowds, she tells us her single wish is that the protest passes off peacefully.

“I’m really happy, very happy to see so much support. I knew it existed but to see it here with my own eyes, all together, really is very exciting.”

Olga blames the current constitutional crisis, the worst since an attempted coup in 1981, on the Catalan authorities but believes the situation is finally being reversed.

“I think that the tables are turning. I think we are beginning to see people who’ve not spoken out before and who’ve decided to take to the streets for the first time ever. I’ve been talking to many people who say that until now they haven’t dared to go out and protest.”

But despite such people power, Catalonia remains on the brink of unilaterally declaring independence from the rest of Spain. All eyes are now on Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and what he will do next.