Catalans wore masks and gathered in small, well-spaced rallies, to demand independence from Spain. Grassroots organizers said some 60,000 people participated in the demonstrations across the region.
Thousands gathered in Spain’s Catalonia on Friday, to commemorate “La Diada,” the region’s annual holiday. Although celebrations were dampened by the coronavirus pandemic, many took to the streets in facemasks and adhering to social distancing recommendations.
Spain has recorded more than 560,000 COVID-19 infections since the onset of the pandemic, more than any other country in western Europe. As such, Catalan health authorities had advised people to not participate in gatherings on the regional holiday.
“La Diada” marks the anniversary of the fall of Barcelona to Spanish forces in 1714 and in recent years, the date has been the stage for separatists to call for independence from Spain.