Up to 900,000 people, (authorities give the number as 350,000), took to the streets of Barcelona on Sunday afternoon to protest against any declaration of Catalonia's independence from Spain.
After last Sunday’s attempt at a referendum, disrupted by the Guardia Civil and National Police who used violence on the peaceful crowd, the political stand-off has polarised with Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, saying that he might suspend Catalonia’s current quasi-autonomous status, sack the regional government and call a new local election.
The PM’s warning come just days before the Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, is planning to address the Catalonian parliament next Tuesday at which he is planning to declare independence, a move that has been declared illegal by the Constitutional Court.
The Sunday referendum in Catalonia on October 1st, drew 2.3 million voters, of which 90% voted to leave Spain. This turnout represented just 43% of the 5.3 million eligible voters in the region, with many unity voters staying away.
The political stand-off has compelled some large businesses, such as CaixBank, to move their headquarters outside Catalonia, facilitated by a swiftly approved new law.
The Barcelona demo was organised by the anti-independence group Catalan Civil Society, under the slogan "Let's recover our senses" in order to rouse an alleged "silent majority" of citizens who oppose independence.
The Spanish do love a good demonstration, some 50 cities saw crowds on the steets this weekend with Spaniards calling for Catalonia to remain part of Spain and for talks to be held to sort out the mess.
Rajoy does not want to go to mediation, something Puigdemont has offered and sticks to his view that "Spain will continue being Spain."
Mr Rajoy told El Pais, "I don't rule out anything that is within the law ... ideally, we shouldn't have to take drastic solutions but for that not to happen there would have to be changes."