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Thousands of Catalans rallied for independence from the rest of Spain in their first large mass rally since the start of the pandemic

BARCELONA, Spain – Catalan separatists held their first large mass rally on Saturday since the start of the pandemic, trying to offer a display of unity amid divisions within their ranks over upcoming talks with the Spanish government.

Thousands of people raised independence flags and wore T-shirts with messages for their cause in downtown Barcelona. People used face masks for the event, which took place after regional authorities dropped restrictions on the number of people who can assemble with the drop in COVID-19 cases.

The meeting between representatives of the Catalan and central government does not yet have a date, but it should be soon. This second meeting between the two parties is supposed to advance the negotiations towards the possible search for a solution to the political crisis which has escalated since the failure of the 2017 attempt by the Catalan secessionists to force a rupture.

The difference of opinion within the separatist camp over the usefulness of the negotiations marked the rally on Saturday. The main pro-secession party supports the talks as the best way forward, but the other two main parties on the separatist camp believe that only another unilateral push will fulfill their dream of creating a new state.

Catalan voters have for several years been roughly evenly divided on the issue of secession, with half for and half wanting to stay in Spain.

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ABC News