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Large rally opposes moves for Catalan independence

Saturday - 10/12/2013, 8:40am  ET

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) -- Thousands of people are gathering in Barcelona to assert their right to be Spanish as well as Catalan in a protest designed to prove to separatists that a significant proportion of the northeastern region's population is against splitting away from Spain.

The movement's slogan is "We are Catalonia, we are Spain" and many waved flags saying "We are 47 million," a reference to the population of Spain.

The rally in the Catalan capital's main Plaza de Catalunya square coincided with Spain's national holiday and takes place Saturday.

Regional President Artur Mas has said he wants to hold a referendum on independence.

Protesters carried a large 100-meter flag, half bearing the Catalan region's colors and the other half those of Spain.

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