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Rallies urges Spain and Catalonia to negotiate

Mass rallies held with the slogan 'Shall We Talk?' called for negotiations between Spanish and Catalonian leaders

8 October 2017, 9:47am
Thousands of people attended the rally in Barcelona [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]
Thousands of people attended the rally in Barcelona [Chris McGrath/Getty Images]
Thousands took to city squares of Madrid and Barcelona calling for talks to diffuse Spanish and Catalonian tension, amid Catalonia’s threat to secede.

The slogan of the marches- “Shall We Talk?”- was created in an effort to encourage politicians to end months of silence and start negotiations.

Sporting white shirts, protesters packed Barcelona's Sant Jaume Square where the Catalan government has its presidential palace, shouting "We want to talk!" and holding signs saying "More Negotiation, Less Testosterone!" and "Talk or Resign!"

"There has been an incredible amount of tension which has been building up since Sunday's referendum and people here are feeling that dialogue is sorely missed from all of this," said Al Jazeera's Sonia Gallego, reporting from the rally in Barcelona. 

"We are here because we want the politicians to talk between them, we look for a solution," said a female protester. "Let them sort it out peacefully, and let each side demonstrate respect for another," added another one

The Constitutional court banned Sunday’s Catalonian referendum claiming independence from Spain, after Catalonia spent years claiming to be distinct from the rest of the country.

The Catalan authorities say that a majority of those who voted supported a split from Spain. Madrid says secession is illegal under the country's 1978 constitution.

Spanish authorities mobilised thousands of national police to stop Sunday's vote, leading to clashes with would-be voters as they tried to close polling stations in schools and remove ballot boxes. Nine hundred people were injured on polling day.