Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Barcelona to call for Spanish unity. Banners read ‘Recuperem el seny’, meaning “let’s recover the reasonableness” and “we’re Catalan, we’re Spanish, more coexistence, less independence”.
Among the speakers at the rally, which was organised by the region’s main pro-unity organisation – Societat Civil Catalana, was Novel-prize winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa who announced:
“Nationalism has filled the history of Europe, the World and Spain with wars, blood and death. For some time, nationalism is wreaking havoc also here in Catalonia. That’s why we are here today. To stop it”.
The rally aimed to encourage opening up dialogue on what has become Spain’s worst political crisis in 40 years.
Josep Borrell, former president of European Parliament and former socialist party leader told the swelling crowd:
“I see some esteladas (Catalonian independentists flag), this is our estelada,” before brandishing a European flag.
The huge demonstration in favour of Spanish unity has taken place just 48-hours ahead of an anticipated speech at the regional parliament by the Catalan president Carles Pugdemont in which he is expected to announce the pro- independence party’s next move.