Thousands of people have gathered in Barcelona to voice their calls for independence for the Spanish region of Catalonia.
They were joined by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who urged potential voters to take part in a referendum planned for October 1.
Pep Guardiola joins call for referendum on Catalan independence https://t.co/jjKLNsWwET
— The Guardian (@guardian) 11 juin 2017
What did Guardiola say?
He demanded international help for what he described as “the abuses of an authoritarian state”.
“We call all the international community to help us. We call on all democrats in Europe and all around the world to stand by us defending the rights under threat today in Catalonia such as freedom and political expression, and the right to vote.”
When was date announced?
On Friday. Catalonian regional government leader Carles Puigdemont decided to hold the vote later this year.
This is in defiance of the government and contravenes a ruling by Spain’s Constitutional Court.
It is not yet clear if the vote will go ahead.
What do the polls say?
Surveys suggest that while Catalan voters are in favour of a referendum being held, independence will be narrowly rejected.
In 2014, Catalonia held a non-binding vote in which people overwhelmingly backed independence. But on that occasion only about 2.3 million out of an electorate of about 5.4 million took part.
— Pere Penyaranda (@PenarandaPere) 11 juin 2017
Why is Catalonia different from other regions in Spain?
It is one of Spain’s wealthiest areas. It has its own distinctive language and customs.
In 2014, the region held a non-binding vote which resulted in independence being overwhelmingly backed.
However, only around 2.3 million people out of an electorate of 5.4 million participated.
Why is Guardiola so popular in Catalonia?
Because of his footballing prowess.
He spent most of his career with Barcelona, winning the club’s first European Cup in 1992 and four La Liga titles.
He was both captain and manager of the team.