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Thousands take to Barcelona streets to protest against Catalan independence

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Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia’s capital Barcelona on Sunday to express their opposition to any declaration of independence from Spain, showing how divided the region is on the issue.

The protesters rallied in central Barcelona, waving Spanish and Catalan flags and banners saying “Catalonia is Spain” and “Together we are stronger”, as politicians on both sides hardened their positions in the country’s worst political crisis for decades.

"The turnout at this anti-independence demonstration is absolutely enormous," observed Claire Paccalin, FRANCE 24's reporter in Barcelona.

Around 350,000 people took to the streets, according to municipal police, while organisers put the figure at 930,000 to 950,000.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Saturday he would not rule out removing Catalonia’s government and calling a fresh local election if it claimed independence, as well as suspending the region’s existing autonomous status.

The stark warning came days before Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is expected to address the region’s parliament, on Tuesday, when he could unilaterally declare independence.

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Source: France 24

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