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Vast crowds demand Catalan independence from Spain

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans took to the streets on Sunday to demand their region break away from Spain, pressuring pro-independence leaders to unite and iron out differences over their secession plan. Crowds waved red and yellow striped Catalan flags in Barcelona and four other cities under bright sunshine on the region’s national day, the “Diada”, which marks the conquest of Barcelona by Spain’s King Philip V in 1714. Local police estimated that 800,000 people had taken part but Spain’s central government, which fiercely opposes Catalan independence, put turnout at around 370,000 strong.

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