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PICS: Catalans Demand Independence from Spain on National Day

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The hundreds of thousands of people celebrating Catalonia’s national day in Barcelona have shouted in unison: “Independencia!” (Independence).

The symbolic moment came after organizers counted down from 10 over a public address system to 5.14 p.m., which on a 24-hour clock is 1714 — the year when Catalonia lost it self-rule to Madrid.

A woman takes photos from a balcony during march to celebrate Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, Monday Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Many Catalans want a return to self-rule by seceding from the rest of Spain. Local officials have promised a regional referendum on independence on Oct. 1, but the national government in Madrid is trying to block it. The standoff is creating deep social and political tension, but there was no sign of conflict Monday.

Many families are attending the good-humored event on a sunny day in downtown Barcelona.

Men wearing reproductions of Catalan military costumes of the 18th century shoot blaze weapons during a performance during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo / Santi Palacios)

 

Protestors carry “esteladas” or Catalan independence flags and other nationalist symbols during the Catalan National Day in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

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