Friday, July 19, 2019 04:23:31 AM
AFP, Barcelona :
Catalan separatists will seek to put on a show of strength and unity at celebrations of the region's "national day" Tuesday, nearly a year after a failed attempt to break away from Spain.
At least 460,000 people have signed up for a Barcelona rally to push for a "Catalan Republic", organisers said.
Many more could join the march without signing up but that amount of people out on the streets would represent a marked fall from last year when a million marched for independence.
The demonstration starts at 5:14 pm (1514 GMT) on a regional holiday commemorating Barcelona's defeat by troops loyal to Spain's King Philip V on September 11, 1714, and the region's subsequent loss of autonomy.
Since 2012, the "Diada" holiday has been used to press for independence, to the dismay of those against breaking away from Spain.
"Today, more than half of Catalonia cannot celebrate anything," said Ines Arrimadas, head of the centre-right, anti-independence Ciudadanos party in Catalonia.
"We want a Diada for all Catalans, a Diada for all of Catalonia, not half of Catalans."
This year's rally will serve to gauge the separatists' strength after an independence referendum last October 1, and the Catalan parliament's unilateral declaration of independence on October 27, all came to naught.
"Separatists will hit the streets to show they are the most organised political force" in Catalonia even though "there is no clear message", Oriol Bartomeus, a politics professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, told AFP.
Catalan president Quim Torra said the march will mark the start of a "mass mobilisation". Further protests are planned for the anniversary of last year's banned referendum, which was marred by clashes between police and voters.
"Our government has committed to implementing the republic," Torra said in a televised speech Monday evening.
"This is a nation that feels and wants to be free."
Torra wants the central government in Madrid to allow a legally binding independence referendum for the region of 7.5 million people.
Spain's conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on partly autonomous Catalonia after last year's unauthorised plebiscite, and called early elections.
Separatist parties retained a majority, though slim, of seats in the regional assembly.
Rajoy's successor, socialist Pedro Sanchez, was catapulted to power in June with the support of separatist parties and has taken a softer line on Catalonia.
Sanchez has offered the region a referendum on greater autonomy, but this was rejected by Torra insisting the October 1 "mandate" for full independence be respected.
There are growing divisions in separatist ranks-between those wanting to provoke a clash with Madrid, and those seeking a more conciliatory approach.
"If a separatist is so naive or stupid to believe he can impose independence on the 50 percent of Catalans who are not (separatists), it's clear that they are mistaken," Joan Tarda, a lawmaker for separatist party ERC in the Spanish parliament, said last week.
The ERC has a softer approach than its ally in the regional government-former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont's Together for Catalonia.
Puigdemont was sacked by Madrid after last year's independence declaration, and fled to Belgium.
Separatist leaders in jail or exile over their role in the separatist push, issued a joint letter urging a mass turnout Tuesday's rally and warning against "provocations from those who seek to divide us".
Thirteen Catalan leaders have been charged with rebellion, which carries a jail term of 25 years.
"The most important message that we must send is to demand the release of political prisoners," referring to jailed separatists, Alex Budoy, a 59-year-old nurse, told AFP Monday evening at a "freedom march" on the eve of the holiday.
Polls show voters have not changed their views much over the past year.
A closely-watched survey by the Catalan government's Centro d'Estudis d'Opinio in July showed 46.7 percent of Catalans want an independent state, just ahead of 44.9 percent who said they were opposed.
A JOINT working group has been formed to probe the slow progress of the 27 projects involving around $20 billion that China had agreed to provide during President Xi Jinping's Dhaka visit in October 2016. China has so far disbursed only $981.36 million -- less than 5 percent of the ...
AP, Cairo :FIFA president Gianni Infantino hit back at Sepp Blatter's criticism of the world soccer body's cleanup operation in Africa as a modern-day form of "colonialism."Infantino response on Thursday was: "I have to laugh about it."Blatter, the former head of FIFA who is serving a six-year ban from soccer, ...
PTI, Washington :The US is keen to make its defence partnership with India stronger, the Pentagon has said, but made it clear that it is against any country purchasing military equipment, including the S-400 missile defence system from Russia, that is designed to counter America's sophisticated fifth-generation aircraft.The remarks by ...
AFP, Agrigento :German captain Carola Rackete, who sparked international headlines by forcibly docking in an Italian port with rescued migrants, faces questioning by an Italian prosecutor on Thursday over allegedly aiding illegal immigration.The captain of the Sea-Watch 3 is expected to be questioned in the southern Sicilian town of Agrigento ...
Entertainment Report :Nick name of internationally acclaimed film actress Bobita is Poppy. Due to acting in the big screen Bobita had to sacrifice her name Poppy. On the other hand, after starting acting in movies Poppy could keep her original name. Poppy sometimes feels pleasure when she recalls the original ...
THE results of this year's Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations under country's 10 education boards were announced yesterday where the combined pass rate rose by 7. 29 percent - that means it's now 73.93 per cent from last year's 66.64 per cent. The number of GPA-5 achievers in the ...
PTI, Beijing : China has gifted a warship to Sri Lanka, in the latest sign of its deepening military cooperation with the strategically located island nation in the Indian Ocean. Also, China's rolling-stock manufacturer has announced that it would shortly deliver nine "new type" of diesel trains to Sri Lanka.The China-gifted ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Gleaming model and actress Peya Bipasha has recently acted in an Eid telefilm titled Opekkha under the direction of Maksudur Rahman Bishal. This was Peya’s first work for the upcoming Eid. In the telefilm, Peya Bipasha will be seen against Emon on the screen. Promising TV actress ...
A newly-married couple and eight others of the bridal party were killed when a Dhaka-bound train rammed their microbus at an unmanned level crossing in Sirajganj's Ullapara upazila on Monday evening. The fatal accident has spoiled unmet dream of the couple. It's due to utter negligence of the Railway Authorities ...
AP, Buenos Aires :Lionel Messi should apologize for his harsh comments at the Copa America in order to avoid a sanction, an Argentine member of sport's highest court said on Monday.Following defeats in the last two finals, Messi had another frustrating end to the tournament when he was sent off ...
AP, New York :Government restrictions on religion have increased markedly in many places around the world, not only in authoritarian countries, but also in many of Europe's democracies, according to a report surveying 198 countries that was released Monday.The report released by the Pew Research Center, covering developments through 2017, ...
AFP, Istanbul :President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday hailed the controversial delivery of a Russian missile defence system despite the threat of US sanctions, as Turkey marked the third anniversary of a bloody coup attempt.Just days before the anniversary, the first batch of the Russian S-400 defence system was delivered ...
Economic Reporter :HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, launched Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 2.2 in Bangladesh.The Launching ceremony was held at a city hotel on Tuesday. Farhan Rashid, Head of Business of HMD Global Bangladesh, Raquibul Kabir, Managing Director of Union Group, Syed MostahidalHoq, Managing Director of Daraz Bangladesh ...