Pro-Spain demonstrators gather a long a street during a protest called by a unionist Catalan civil society group in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. Thousands of Spaniards marched in downtown Barcelona on Sunday in favour of national unity and against the secessionist movement in Catalonia. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Tens of thousands march in Barcelona urging Spanish unity

October 27, 2019 - 5:28 am

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Tens of thousands of people are marching in Barcelona to protest the separatist movement in the northeastern Catalonia region that has produced Spain's worst political crisis in decades.

Barcelona's police say 80,000 people have rallied Sunday on one of the city's main streets, with many carrying Spanish and Catalan flags.

One poster read in English: "We are Catalonians too, stop this madness!!"

The rally in favor of Spanish unity comes after several days of protests — some of which have spiraled into violent clashes with police — by Catalan separatists. They are angered by a Supreme Court ruling that sentenced nine of separatist leaders to prison for a failed 2017 secession attempt.

Polls say the 7.5 million residents of the wealthy Catalonia region are roughly evenly divided on the secession question.

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