February 29, supporters of the independence of the region from Spain gathered in the city of Perpignan (southern France) at the call of the former leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemon, as the DW reported.
It was expected that about 70,000 people would take part in the action. However, according to local authorities, about 100,000 people attended the rally, and the organizers of the event announced 150,000 participants.
Most of the protesters came from Catalonia by buses, trains, and cars. Demonstrators waved the flags of the Catalan independence movement and held portraits of Puigdemont.
Puigdemon called on his supporters to “constantly mobilize” against the “monarchist regime, which is the direct descendant of Francoism,” referring to Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.
The Catalan politician first came so close to the Spanish border after being forced to flee to Brussels due to persecution by Madrid for holding a referendum on the independence of Catalonia. Previously, he did not risk visiting France, whose government works closely with Madrid. However, now the former Catalan leader has immunity as a member of the European Parliament.
As we reported before, a Spanish court investigation on the intervention of Russian special services in the attempt to declare the independence of Catalonia concerns the activities of a citizen of Ukraine and a citizen of Russia, arrested October 4, 2019 in the province of Girona.