Separatists organized dozens of demonstrations on Saturday in Catalonia to mark the fifth anniversary of the referendum on independence from Spain that was held on October 1, 2017, although Madrid banned it and considered it illegal.
The main movement was organized in Barcelona, the capital of the region, with the participation of thousands of people who gathered in the “Arc de Triomphe” square.
Some of those who played a role in the secession attempt thwarted by Madrid participated in the movement, including the then-president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, who delivered a speech via video.
Puigdemont is in exile in Belgium to avoid a Spanish arrest warrant issued against him.
Puigdemont stressed that the commemoration was not a “nostalgia”, describing the referendum as a “foundational moment” toward independence.
The current president of the region, Perry Aragones, gave a televised speech in which he stressed that October 1, 2017, will remain “a historic day and part of the collective memory.”
He stressed that the referendum on independence was a “big victory”, vowing that “Catalonia will vote again” on its independence one day.
The Spanish judiciary had at that time banned the referendum organized by advocates of independence from Spain, on a day that witnessed great tensions and police interventions to prevent its organization.
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