BARCELONA, SPAIN (OCTOBER 8, 2017) (REUTERS) – A group of pro-unity protesters demonstrated outside Spanish Civil Guard Police headquarters in Barcelona on Sunday (October 8) in order to show their support for state police forces ahead of a mass rally to denounce the separatists’ move to declare independence.
The wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, with its own language and culture, held a referendum on Oct. 1 on independence, in defiance of the Spanish constitutional court which had ruled the vote illegal.
The Catalan authorities say around 90 percent of those who voted supported a split from Spain. Madrid says secession is illegal under the Spain’s 1978 constitution. Residents of Catalonia who oppose secession largely boycotted the vote.
The political stand-off has divided the country, pushed banks and companies to move their headquarters outside Catalonia and shaken market confidence in the Spanish economy, prompting calls from the European Commission for Catalan and Spanish leaders to find a political solution.