Oct. 8th, 2017
Thousands took to the streets today in Barcelona to protest against the independence movement, calling for Spain to remain united. The Catalan Civil Society (Societat Civil Catalana), the anti-independence group which organized the demonstration, claimed that more than 930,000 people participated throughout the day, while the municipal police of Barcelona (Guardia Urbana) placed the number of protesters at 350,000.
The demonstration culminated at the city´s France Station (Estació de França), where the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa gave a speech in support of a unified Spain. Other leaders who were present at the demonstration included Josep Borrell, member of the Socialists' Party (PSOE) and former president of the European Parliament. Chants of "Long Live Spain!" were heard throughout the day, while protesters also gathered in front of the Catalan Government's Office, chanting "Puigdemont, to prison!".
The protests came as Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has requested to appear before the Parliament of Catalonia on Tuesday in a likely declaration of unilateral independence. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has insisted that his government "will prevent any declaration of independence from taking place".