Catalans demonstrate for independence

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by a Newsnet Reporter

Around 40,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Barcelona on Saturday evening to demand independence for Catalunya.  Under the slogan ‘Pel nostre futur, independència’ (for our future, independence), the event took place on the first anniversary of the largest demonstration ever held in the Catalan capital, to protest the decision of the Spanish Supreme Court to strike down the proposed Catalan Statute of Autonomy, which defined Catalunya as a nation.

According to the Spanish constitution, Spain is one indivisible nation, the Madrid court ruled that the Catalan Statute was unconstitutional.  More than a million and a half Catalans took to the streets of their capital to protest against the decision, and to reaffirm their belief in the nationhood of Catalunya.  

Yesterday’s demonstration was much smaller than the previous year’s, but follows on the recent gains by pro-independence Catalan parties in the Spanish regional and local elections held on May 22.  For the first time, the nationalist parties succeeded in taking control of the city of Barcelona, formerly a stronghold of the Catalan branch of the the Spanish party the PSOE.  

Felip Puig, the Interior Minister of the Generalitat, the government of Catalunya, said in an interview yesterday that “the spirit” of last year’s independence demonstration remains alive, and asserted his belief that within a short time Catalunya will begin a transition towards the acceptance of the right of the country to decide its own future.

Mr Puig stated his confidence that Catalan civil society would demand “more political power, greater self-government and more sovereignty.  He added that the current difficult economic situation and dissatisfaction with Madrid’s handling of the economy was pushing more people towards considering “new political scenarios and national ambition.”

Mr Puig added, “A good part of the people of this country continue wanting the country to go forward and neither to surrender to nor accept the submission to what Spanish politics seems to have an obsession in granting us, being nothing more than a large Spanish province.”