• Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:21 am

Huge Catalan march in Brussels to wake up Europe

  • Published at 10:00 pm December 7th, 2017
Huge Catalan march in Brussels to wake up Europe

A sea of around 45,000 pro-Catalonia protesters demonstrated in Brussels on Thursday to show support for the region's deposed president Carles Puigdemont and urge the EU to support its drive for independence from Spain.

Demonstrators chanted "Wake up Europe!" and waved Catalonia's red, yellow and blue Estelada separatist flag as they marched past the European Union headquarters in the Belgian capital.

"We cannot abandon our president, who is in exile here," Antoni Llenas, 59, a protester wearing a flag over his shoulders, told AFP. "We are here to continue the struggle for our independence and to ask for the freedom of our political prisoners."

Belgian police said on Twitter that there were an estimated 45,000 protesters, more than double the 20,000 that organisers said they originally expected. The rally began peacefully, according to reporters on the scene.

Puigdemont and four former ministers fled to Brussels in November, saying they wanted to take their cause to the European level after Spain charged them with sedition and rebellion over Catalonia's independence referendum in October.

On Monday, the Spanish government dropped a European arrest warrant for the five, but Puigdemont said he would stay put for now as they still face arrest in Spain if they return for regional polls in Catalonia that Madrid has called for December 21.

Protesters arrived in a stream of coaches and camper vans with Spanish registration plates, and gathered in the Cinquantenaire Park in the city's European quarter before the start of the march at 1030 GMT.

Children and families were among those who began the march in high spirits despite the cold and rain.

Their route is taking them past the headquarters of the European Commission and they will end up in a square between the European Council and European Parliament.

The EU has strongly backed the Spanish government over the Catalan issue, saying that it is an internal matter for Madrid.

 
50
50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail