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Rally of support for Catalan community held outside Toronto's Spanish consulate

Last Updated Oct 2, 2017 at 6:33 am EDT

A rally was held outside the Spanish consulate on Sunday evening to show support for the people of Spain, amid repression against the Catalan community.

Organizers said they are disappointed with Canada’s lack of involvement, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s stance.

“When he says it’s an internal affair … it cannot be an internal affair” Josep Lluís Pérez de Arce, president of the Catalan Association of Toronto, said.

“The issue of people to choose is part of the human rights established by the UN and EU.”

It’s this human rights violation that has prompted Pam Johnson to show her support, despite not having any Spanish ties.

“People are being attacked, I see that repression of democracy and that’s why I’m out here today,” she explained.

According to Carles Muntaner, a University of Toronto professor, Spain could learn a thing of two from Canada if the country were to get involved.

As a native Catalan who has been following Spanish government’s actions, he’s noticed that Spain’s separatist movement is very similar to what Canada dealt with regarding the province of Quebec.

“The Canadian Government could do a lot to teach the Spanish government about democratic instincts to negotiate. In the case of Canada, it was with the Quebecois and they chose to remain – that could be the case with Catalonia”

The cultural minority spent the day fighting with police just to exercise their democratic right to vote in a controversial referendum to separate from Spain.

Riot police burst into polling stations across Catalonia, confiscated ballot boxes and voting papers. They also closed 93 polling stations.

More than 800 people were injured, including 13 police officers, yet hundreds of people still lined up in cities throughout the region to cast their votes.

Catalan officials said the voter turnout was 42.3 per cent and of the voters who casted their ballots, 90 per cent of them backed independence.

Even though the votes have been cast, Catalonia’s future is not certain.

Spain’s President did not even acknowledge the vote that happened on Sunday and in a televised address, Catalonia’s regional leader has hinted that he could unilaterally declare independence, whether or not Spain recognizes the results.