Thousands of striking high school and university students have marched in Barcelona in support of Catalonia’s independence referendum which the Spanish central government in Madrid has vowed to stop.
“We will vote!” and “Independence!” the protesters shouted as they marched along the Gran Via, one of Barcelona’s main avenues, on Thursday. Many were draped in red and yellow Catalan independence flags.
Barcelona police said 16,000 people took part in the protest, while organizers put the figure at 80,000. A young female protester at the march said they want the independence because they are sure that they will be better without being part of Spain.
The Catalan government has insisted it will press ahead with Sunday’s disputed plebiscite in the wealthy northeastern region which is home to 7.5 million people despite a crackdown by Madrid which wants to prevent a vote ruled unconstitutional by the courts.