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Spanish-unity supporters demonstrate in Barcelona

A nationalist activist waves a Spanish flag in front of a giant Catalan flag during a mass rally against Catalonia’s declaration of independence, in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. Thousands of opponents of independence for Catalonia are holding the rally on one of the city’s main avenues after one of the country’s most tumultuous days in decades. (Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo/AP)

Spanish-unity supporters demonstrate in Barcelona

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards rallied in Catalonia’s capital Barcelona Sunday, waving national and European flags and chanting “Viva Espana!” to denounce regional lawmakers’ vote to sever the region from Spain.

Crowds of protesters swarmed, singing and clapping, through Barcelona’s streets in a sea of red-and-yellow Spanish flags, brandishing placards reading “De Todos” (It belongs to all of us).

Municipal police said the crowd numbered about 300,000 while organizers said 1.3 million turned out and the central government’s representative in Catalonia put the figure at one million.

Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades mounted on Friday when secessionists in the Catalan parliament voted to declare the wealthy northeastern region of some 7.5 million people an independent republic.

The central government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reacted swiftly by temporarily stripping the region of its autonomy and declaring the dismissal of regional president Carles Puigdemont and his executive. (AFP)

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