Barcelona - Moments after the Catalan parliament voted to secede from Spain, its capital city Barcelona exploded in the sounds of fireworks, car horns and toasts. The city was abuzz with excitement over the declaration, and the Citadel Park was packed with thousands. The park, found on the outskirts of Barcelona's old city, is the location of the Catalan parliament, where secessionist lawmakers voted in secret to leave Spain. The area around the park was so full of revellers celebrating Catalonia's independence that Barcelona's police closed streets. Public transportation was forced to re-route.
GIRONA, SPAIN – It's a time for celebration in Girona, a city that maps and world governments say is in Spain, but many residents consider part of an independent republic of Catalonia. Amid the party atmosphere of a festival weekend, many in this secessionist stronghold are cheering the Catalan parliament's declaration of independence from Spain, a country they don't regard as their own. Faure says castells is a true Catalan tradition, a view she doesn't hold about Spanish icons such as bullfighting, which Catalan authorities have tried to ban, or flamenco, an import from Andalucia, in southern Spain. Flamenco is fine, she said, but "it's not mine." Many people in this northeastern region of 7.5 million believe Catalonia's language, history and cultural traditions -- even Catalans' ironic sense of humor -- set it apart from the rest of Spain.
A pro independence supporter holds up an ''estelada'' or Catalan pro independence flag during a rally in support of the Catalonia's secession from Spain, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. Spain's celebrates its national day amid one of the country's biggest crises ever as its powerful northeastern region of Catalonia threatens independence.(AP
One of the more spectacular measures proposed by a radical Catalan separatist party last year was to pull down Barcelona's famous Christopher Columbus Monument. Despite this outside shot by a handful of CUP city councillors, who regard it as a symbol of slavery, the landmark 60m (200ft) column is very much still standing, the explorer pointing with his bronze hand out to sea and the New World. But some Catalan Spaniards saw the proposal as an attempt to erase their Spanish identity in the city, a sign of things to come, like Sunday's vote for independence. "This is the final crash," Juan told me after watching Catalan President Carles Puigdemont's post-referendum interview with the BBC, where he confirmed he would press on with independence. "I will have to leave Catalonia if it happens."
Catalan independence supporters, one waving an "estelada", or Catalonia independence flag, applaud during a rally outside the city hall of Girona, Spain, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017. Spanish riot police smashed their way into polling stations to try to halt a disputed independence referendum in Catalonia on Sunday and fired rubber bullets at protesters outside a Barcelona polling station, with Catalan officials saying more than 330 people were injured, some seriously.