Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola attended a pro-independence rally in Barcelona on Sunday and defended Catalonia’s right to vote, after the head of the region Carles Puigdemont announced on Friday that they would hold a referendum on splitting from Spain on October 1.
Speaking to a large crowd gathered at the Montjuic fountains, the former Barcelona player said the Catalans would decide their future by voting despite the Spanish government’s constant refusal, and called for the international community to support Catalonia against an “authoritarian state”.
He said, “On the 1st of October we are going to vote in a referendum to decide our future. We will vote even though Spanish state doesn’t want us to.
“We have tried to reach an agreement 18 times and the answer has always been ‘no’. With this response, they ignore the support of the referendum of 80 per cent of the population and show contempt for the large majority in favour of it in Catalonia’s parliament. We have no other solution, the only possible answer is to vote.”
Puigdemont’s announcement has exacerbated the confrontation with the central government in Madrid which says such a vote is illegal and must not take place.
The Spanish government said that it would block any attempt to hold a vote as soon as the referendum announcement was formally rubber-stamped by Catalan authorities.