FILED – President of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) Elisenda Paluzie speaks during a press conference in front of the European Commission headquarters in Barcelona. Photo: Thiago Prudencio / SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire / dpa
They want their region to be independent and separate from Spain. At most, the central government wants to grant more autonomy.
The president of the separatist citizens’ movement Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Elisenda Paluzie, called on all separatists to unite on the Catalan national holiday, the so-called Diada. They are at odds over the path to independence: some want to persuade the central government to agree to a referendum; others consider this to be hopeless.
The Diada (holiday) is celebrated on September 11th every year. A rather unusual defeat is celebrated: On this day, in 1714, Barcelona was conquered by the troops of the Spanish King Philip V after the Catalans had supported his opponent in the War of the Spanish Succession. Catalonia lost its self-government. As every year, a large rally was planned for the high point of the Diada in Barcelona – starting at 5.14 p.m.
A referendum on the separation from the Kingdom of Spain is not permitted under the Spanish Constitution. Nevertheless, on October 1, 2017, the separatists organized a referendum on their own initiative. As a result, Catalonia was temporarily placed under the direct administration of the headquarters. The then regional head of government Carles Puigdemont and some colleagues fled abroad. Other separatists were sentenced to long imprisonment but were pardoned in June.