The decision to hold a meeting between the Spanish Prime Minister and the separatist leader of Catalonia in Barcelona has angered independence activists.
Thus, in commemoration of the first anniversary of the regional snap elections, demonstrators are planning to stage street protests as a show of defiance and disapproval.
The socialist government of Pedro Sánchez opted to take the conciliatory route towards independence and scheduled talks with Catalan leader Quim Torra at Barcelona, which is the capital of Catalonia.
Secessionists view this move as provocative and deliberate which resulted to protesters declaring a day of anti-government demonstrations in the city on Friday.
Torra was criticized for encouraging the protesters to “keep up the pressure”. The regional President once again earned the ire of many when he urged on Catalans to emulate Slovenia’s path to independence.
Jordi Turull, one of the jailed Catalan leaders due for trial next year over his role in the independence movement, said the cabinet meeting should not be held in Catalonia a year after the regional election.
However, Turull expressed that violent demonstrations will only derail their independence advocacy:
“I would not like it if people, with their faces covered, demanded my freedom. We have to do as we have always done, which is to protest peacefully.”
The Catalan foreign minister, Alfred Bosch, said he expects demonstrators to abide by the tradition of non-violence, adding that the independence movement had always advocated peace:
“We are confident that there will be no violence and we’re doing everything necessary to defend both free expression and a peaceful, orderly, democratic day tomorrow.”
Bosch said the Catalan government believes that all issues should be out in the open and discussed on Thursday, adding: “We don’t think it’s a good idea to have political prisoners nowadays or to avoid finding a democratic solution to any political problem.”
PM Sánchez has offered to increase Catalonia’s powers of self-government but has flatly declined to discuss independence, stating all negotiations should be aligned with the constitution, which was founded on the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”.