By The Associated Press – Feb. 29, 2020
PERPIGNAN, France — Tens of thousands of people who want the Catalonia region to become independent from Spain held a major rally across the border, in southeastern France, on Saturday.
Catalan separatists are keen to draw international attention to their fight, and the rally in Perpignan aimed to be a show of strength. The rally’s slogan was, “The republic at the center of the world” — a reference to the desired Catalan republic.
Perpignan lies about 200 kilometers (120 miles) by road from the Catalan capital, Barcelona. Holding the event in French territory allowed former Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont to attend, too. The European Parliament member is a fugitive from Spain after declaring Catalan independence in 2017.
Puigdemont’s political alliance, Together for Catalonia, will be competing for votes with other separatist parties in an upcoming regional election in Catalonia. No date has been set for the ballot.