Grassroots Groups Herald Messy New Chapter In Catalan Secession Bid


BARCELONA – Masked protesters cheer and wave cars through open toll road barriers in a small town south of Barcelona, flying a banner that reads “Welcome to the Catalan Republic”.

Stunts of this kind have been carried out in the wealthy Spanish region by local groups calling themselves Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs), as a political campaign to split from Spain has struggled under seven months of direct rule by the central government.

Madrid fired the regional government last October after it declared an independent republic and called an election in December hoping to stifle the secessionists. But this strategy backfired when voters returned a slim majority for pro-independence parties.

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