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King Felipe will visit Catalonia next week following protests

On Monday, His Majesty King Felipe of Spain will travel to Barcelona in Catalonia. This is happening following an increased activity by the separatists in the region. There are rumoured messages that the King also will talk to representatives from the rebellious separatist movement on Monday. However, this is not confirmed.

When the King visits Barcelona next week, this marks the fifth visit of the monarch to Catalonia so far this year. His Majesty will attend the opening of the fair Gastech 2018. No other activities or events are so far confirmed.

His presence will occur just a month after the act of tribute for the victims of the terror-attack 17 August and responds to an attempt of political normalisation to stop the escalation of tension caused by the separatists. Also on June 28, there was a visit by the King on the occasion of the Princess of Girona awards.

King Felipe, Queen Letizia, Princess Leonor and Infanta Sofia at the 2017 events for Spain’s National Day. © Casa de S.M. el Rey

There has been an increase in violence and protests in Catalonia the recent weeks as the region prepared themselves to celebrate its national day on Tuesday this week. The first national-day-celebration since the controversial referendum on independence, which was described as “illegal”. The National Day of Catalonia is usually a daylong festival celebrated annually on 11 September. It commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714.

This year, the national day was characterised by demonstrations, violence, destruction and the police’s attempt to restore peace and order. An episode that has shocked Spaniards across Spain was when the Communist extremist group CUP burned a banner with a picture of the Spanish King as seen in the video below.

In just a few weeks, it is exactly one year since last year’s controversial referendum in Catalonia, and Catalonia’s regional president Quim Torra says this week demonstration is only the first in a series of upcoming demonstrations.

In July, the Spanish Governor met a Catalan leader for the first time in two years. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez suggested last week to arrange a referendum if Catalonia is to get more autonomy.

“There could be a referendum on autonomy, but not independence,” said Sanchez.

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