Catalan Separatists Rally in Brussels as Elections Approach

Bloomberg QuickTake explains the Catalan push for independence from Spain.

Thousands of Catalan separatists protested in Brussels against what they see as Europe’s inaction in pushing the Spanish government to address their claim that the region should become independent.

About 45,000 people took part in the demonstration, the Brussels police said on their Twitter account. Under the slogan of “Europe Wake Up!, Democracy for Catalonia,” the rally provided fresh evidence that pro-independence campaigners remain mobilized ahead of elections in the region called for Dec. 21.

Ousted Catalan President Puigdemont fled to Brussels at the end of October as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy invoked constitutional powers to dismiss the Catalan government and call elections to form a new regional parliament. He insists he remains the legitimate president of Catalonia and is attempting to run his election campaign from Brussels rather than return to Spain where he still faces arrest.

“Today we are writing a very beautiful page of history of Europe,” Puigdemont told the crowd gathered near the European Council headquarters. “Catalonia is committed to the values of peace and non-violence.”

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