Anti-independence protesters march in Barcelona

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Less than a day after tens of thousands of pro-independence protesters faced off with riot police on the streets of Barcelona, masses of demonstrators took to the streets voicing their opposition to autonomous Catalonia.

Barcelona has seen repeated demonstrations since October 14, when Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine pro-independence leaders to lengthy prison terms for participating in an independence referendum in 2017. Around 10,000 people swarmed the streets of the city on Saturday night, clashing with riot police, who responded with batons and rubber bullets. An earlier demonstration, drawing 350,000 people, had passed peacefully.

Catalonians opposed to independence marched on Sunday, waving the Spanish flag and calling for national unity. 

Police say 80,000 people showed up, a fraction of the number that pro-independence protests have drawn over the last two weeks.

However, Catalonia’s 7.5 million people remain divided on the region’s future, with roughly half supporting secession and half opposed. The pro-independence side remain angered at the Spanish government’s crackdown on the 2017 referendum, which saw police raiding polling stations, beating voters, and seizing ballot boxes.

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