Catalonia celebrates national day amid tension over secession vote plans

Catalonia celebrates national day amid tension over secession vote plans
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Catalonia’s National Day is being celebrated amid an increasingly bitter backdrop of disputes over the regional government’s bid for independence from Spain.

Traditionally, the festival commemorates the 1714 fall of Barcelona in the War of the Spanish Succession. But this year it’s been re-branded as la Diada del Si, or the National Day of Yes – a nod to the Catalan President’s pledge to hold a referendum on secession in three weeks’ time.

Carles Puigdemont and the ruling ‘Together for Yes’ coalition insist the October 1 vote is legal. Madrid says it is unconstitutional and one region alone should not be allowed to vote on an issue that affects the whole country.

“We all decide together about what belongs to all of us, which is our country,” he said.

Last week Spain’s Constitutional Court suspended Catalonia’s so-called referendum law.

Prosecutors are now deciding whether charges should be filed against Puigdemont and other MPs for alleged disobedience and abuse of power.

Recent polls suggest the Catalan people are almost evenly split on the issue of independence.

Results of a survey published at the end of July [in Spanish] suggest 49.4 percent of Catalans are against independence, while 41.4 percent support it. However, should the referendum go ahead as planned, turnout is estimated an estimated 72 percent would vote in favour of secession on a turnout of 50 percent, should the referendum go ahead.

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