Watch again: Catalans march on anniversary of independence referendum

People hold a giant "Estelada" (Catalan separatist flag) at a rally during Catalonia's national day 'La Diada' in Barcelona, Spain, September 11, 2019.
People hold a giant "Estelada" (Catalan separatist flag) at a rally during Catalonia's national day 'La Diada' in Barcelona, Spain, September 11, 2019. Copyright REUTERS/Albert Gea/File
By Reuters
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Spain’s acting prime minister warned demonstrators 'not to play with fire'.

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Separatist leaders in Catalonia on Tuesday pledged to keep up their struggle for independence on the second anniversary of an ill-fated independence referendum, prompting Spain’s acting prime minister to warn them “not to play with fire”.

You can watch footage of a march to mark the anniversary in the video player, above.

The banned referendum and the short-lived declaration of independence that followed plunged Spain into its biggest political crisis in decades. Madrid responded by imposing direct rule on the region for months, sidelining regional authorities.

“The road towards the Catalan republic is inevitable,” Pere Aragones, Catalonia’s deputy head of government, said in a ceremony in Barcelona. “We want to build it peacefully and for everybody.”

Illegal

Yellow balloons marked voting stations used in the referendum, held on Oct 1, 2017, despite being deemed illegal by Madrid.

“Let’s finish what we started,” read one attached note.

In Girona, about 150 pro-independence protestors marched in streets, some hurling eggs at police and toppling garbage bins.

State news agency Efe said the central government had sent extra riot police to Catalonia amid fears in Madrid of a repeat of last year, when protestors blocked highways and train tracks and about 180,000 people marched in Barcelona.

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