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On Tuesday 10 October, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont addressed his regional parliament. John Bartlett was among the crowds gathered on Passeig Lluís Companys in Barcelona to hear Puigdemont’s speech following a week of heightened tension.
Following a lengthy delay to the speech amid rumours of eleventh-hour talks with EU delegates, Puigdemont delivered the disputed results of the unofficial 1 October referendum on independence from Spain, followed by a long history of the animosity between Catalonia and the Spanish state.
As tension mounted and crowds gathered on the promenade leading to Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf, Puigdemont then announced that Catalonia would be an “independent state”, to wild cheers from those watching his address on large screens in the centre of the region’s capital. However, he went on to cool the secessionist furore that has gripped many in the city since Spanish police were sent to quell protests and prevent citizens from voting in the referendum.
Puigdemont called for dialogue with Spain to de-escalate tensions, prompting the Spanish government to issue it own request for clarification as to whether or not independence had actually be declared.