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WATCH: More than one million people hit the streets to demand Catalan independence

There were some astonishing, colour-coded scenes in Barcelona today.

Spain Catalonia Independence Source: Associated Press

POLICE IN BARCELONA have estimated that 1.4 million people took to the streets of the city today to demand independence for the secessionist region of Catalonia.

Officials published the figure on Twitter after the demonstration, which marked the start of campaigning for a 27 September regional election billed by Catalan leaders as an indirect vote on independence.

Spain Catalonia Independence Source: Associated Press

Waving red and yellow Catalan flags, they marched down Avinguda Meridiana, a major road into the city, shouting “Independence!” and forming a “mosaic” of red, blue and yellow, to reflect the colours of the “esteleda” – the Catalan flag of independence.

Others formed human pyramids – a Catalan folk tradition.

Spain Catalonia Independence Source: Associated Press

Spain Catalonia Independence Source: Associated Press

This video, posted this evening by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (Catalan National Assembly) shows the astonishing scale of today’s demonstration.

Source: ASSEMBLEA VIDEO/YouTube

The show of force on Catalan national day comes at a time of high political tensions, some three months ahead of a general election in Spain.

State officials and other authorities did not immediately release their own estimates for turnout in Barcelona, the capital of the region, which counts 7.5 million inhabitants.

Spain Catalonia Independence Source: Associated Press

Before the rally, organisers had said 500,000 people had signed up to take part.

Earlier this week, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams recorded this message of “solidarity from republican Ireland.”

Source: Esquerres per la Independència/YouTube

The party’s MP for West Belfast, Paul Maskey, attended today’s march as a representative of Sinn Féin.

At last year’s Catalan national day demo, Spanish state officials and local authorities gave wildly different turnout figures for the politically-sensitive rally.

Polls this week showed pro-secession candidates could win a majority of seats in the Catalan parliament during this month’s vote.

If they win, Catalan president Artur Mas has vowed to push through an 18-month roadmap to secession for the region, which accounts for a fifth of Spain’s economy.

Contains reporting by AFP.

Read: Catalonia has a plan to leave Spain within 2 years>

Read: Catalonia votes for independence, Spain calls the vote “useless”>

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Dan MacGuill

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