Catalan separatists vow to continue fight for independence one year after referendum

Catalan separatists marked the first anniversary of the failed independence declaration on Saturday with protests and vows to press ahead with their efforts to split from Spain, Reuters has reported.

Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia after it declared independence following a referendum. Elections later returned a regional government favouring secession though a party supporting union with Spain won most votes. 

As separatist leaders jailed for their role in last year’s attempt to split from Spain go to trial, Catalan leader Quim Torra demanded their acquittal on Saturday and said independence efforts would continue. 

“Turning back is not an option,” Torra said in a televised address, adding that he “won’t accept any sentence other than a full acquittal.” 

“If there’s a conviction, we’ll face it with the determination of Oct. 1 and the strength and solidarity of Oct. 3,” Torra said, referring to the date of last year’s referendum and a general strike held two days later. 

Catalans in the referendum voted overwhelmingly for independence with those opposed to independence largely boycotting the vote. 

Opinion polls show that the region is split roughly in half between those who support secession and those favouring remaining part of Spain. 

Tensions between Barcelona and Madrid, appear to have eased somewhat considerably since last year, according to reports.

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