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    Thousands of Catalans gather in Parc du Cinquantenaire

    © Belga
    Thousands of Catalans gathered in protest in the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels. They are strong proponents of Catalan independence.
    © Belga

    Thousands of Catalans gathered on Thursday morning in the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels, prior to the demonstration. This was anticipated to leave at 11.30 p.m.

    Catalans have come to the Belgian capital in large numbers, in response to the call from the Catalan National Assembly (known as the “ANC”) and the association Òmnium Cultural. These are two Catalan separatist organisations. Using the slogan “Wake up Europe” (“Despierta, Europa”), the demonstrators intend to request that the European Union “respects” Catalonia. This is despite Madrid deposing the Catalan government after it declared independence from the Spanish region.

    The organisers of the gathering announced that some 20,000 individuals were taking part. Around 11 a.m., several thousand of them were already gathered in the Parc du Cinquantenaire. Several families with children are taking part in the demonstration which has taken place peacefully so far at the time of writing.

    © Belga

    Along with thousands of Catalan flags, it was possible to see several Flemish and Belgian flags. There were people distributing pin badges with the two Catalan and Flemish flags. Some chanted “Puigdemont, for our next President”. A New Flemish Alliance delegation was also present.

    The procession was scheduled to move off from the Esplanade du Cinquantenaire at 11.30 a.m. The demonstration was then going via Avenue de la Renaissance, Avenue de Cortenbergh, Rue Stevin and Chaussée d’Etterbeek. The gathering was scheduled to end around 3.30 p.m. to 4 p.m., on Place Jean Rey, in Etterbeek.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times