Hundreds of thousands of Catalans are expected to rally in the streets of Barcelona on Monday in what campaigners hope will be a show of support for independence after Madrid moved to block a planned referendum on the region’s split from Spain. The ‘Diada’ day of Sept. 11, which commemorates the fall of Barcelona to Spain in 1714, is often used by activists to voice their demands for an independent state. Coachloads of demonstrators travel to Barcelona from villages in the region. Hostility between Madrid and Barcelona has ramped up since Spain’s Constitutional Court last Thursday suspended the referendum, planned for Oct. 1, following a legal challenge by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The government says the referendum contravenes the constitution, which states that Spain is indivisible.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has urged ‘independentistas’ to take to the streets on Monday in a massive show of support for the referendum.
“It’s vital that we come out in force for this Diada for the Oct. 1 referendum to be successful,” he said on Twitter. “I’ll be there.