The political crisis between Spain and Catalonia continues as thousands on both sides went out on Saturday to protest. Spanish flags were waved in Madrid and in Barcelona, the demonstrators wore white while Catalan leaders called for a “ceasefire.”
Watch: Protests in Spain
Thousands of protesters gathered on the streets of Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday amid the tensions surrounding the Catalan independence referendum. Most of the protesters in Madrid waved Spanish flags and called for maintaining the country’s unity while in Barcelona, demonstrators wore white and called for a dialogue with Madrid. The current political crisis is the worst the country has seen in recent decades.
“I came to protest because I feel very Spanish and I was saddened by recent events,” said Rosa Buras, 47, who was wearing a shirt with the writing “Catalonia, we love you,” in Madrid. Buras said that she has family in Catalonia. “I wanted to be here for the sake of unity because I feel very Catalan too,” she said.
Catalan protesters Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News
Ahead of today’s protests, the Catalan leadership called for a “ceasefire” with the central government in Madrid in an attempt to keep the peace, which has been disturbed since the referendum on Sunday. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and Santi Vila, Catalonia’s regional business minister, are in favor of dialogue. “We have to give it one more chance, maybe the final chance, and perhaps the only way that can occur is to start with a ceasefire,” Vila said in an interview with a Catalan radio show. “We can all calm down and give ourselves the chance to not take any decisions and see what channels we can open up to start a calm dialogue.”
Meanwhile, Madrid’s leadership continues to demand that Catalonia abandon its aspirations of independence. On Sunday, thousands of police officers were sent to stop the referendum from taking place, resulting in violent clashes that left hundreds wounded. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that police reaction was “proportionate.”
Madrid Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News