Spain celebrates National Day amid tensions from Catalan independence campaign

World Today

Spain celebrates National Day amid tensions from Catalan independence campaign

Spain isn’t letting the political crisis with Catalonia stop it from celebrating a national holiday. People marked National Day by lining the streets of Madrid.

But while Madrid celebrated, there were demonstrations in Barcelona as part of the Catalan push for independence.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports.

Follow Guy Henderson on Twitter @guyhendersonde

Scuffles broke out on the streets of Barcelona.

It was a small group, and they were quickly contained by police. The cause of the scuffle was not entirely clear.

But right next to it was a march through the heart of a region who’s government wants to break with Spain by those who are very much against it.

Many are unsettled by what may lie ahead.

“I don’t think things will return to normal yet,” said one boy, “because Puigdemont put the breaks on independence to try and have some dialogue that he himself doesn’t want.”

A lady said, “Puigdemont has tried to kick the ball back to the government but it’s still in his court. And so you have an idea how I feel. I have never bought a Spanish flag, until today.”

In the middle of the gathering, there was heightened tension as a single imposter was forced out.

This is not a part of Spain that usually gets that excited by National Day, but this year is an exception. The turnout is similar to Tuesday night when thousands stood outside parliament backing independence.

The crowd, though, is calling for unity.

That was the message in Madrid as well, with the might of the state on show to back it up. However, that may not deter those set on independence.

On Wednesday night, allies of the Catalan president urged him to clarify his stance by declaring, and said any attempt by Madrid to take over would be met with resistance.

“As I have said, repression has not served to stop this democratic process, so much so, as I understand it, that applying Article 155 would deepen the problem,” said Carme Forcadell, the Speaker of Catalan’s parliament.

“It would be worse because I am sure many people, many people are prepared to defend Catalonia’s self-government.”

The Spanish Foreign minister has suggested regional elections could, at some point, be an option—to prove just how many.

“It’s a possibility, we can imagine this,” Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said. “There is a part of our citizens who want exactly this. But as I told you, there is a whole panoply of measures that we can apply.”

A whole panoply—that includes force. But to those flying the nation flag this weekend, the idea remains almost inconceivable.