The independence movement protested on Saturday in the streets of central Madrid, which for a few hours seemed more like Barcelona's Passeig de Gracia, Plaça Catalunya, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes or Avinguda Diagonal than the Spanish capital's Cibeles, Neptune fountain, Paseo del Prado and Atocha station. Tens of thousands of people travelled from Catalonia, but also thousands more from different parts of Spain and some additional thousands who are residents of Madrid itself. According to the organizers, 120,000 people in total; a figure that was negated by the Spanish police in such a crude way that it has stripped all the credibility from the figures the police themselves gave.
As familiar as we are with this numbers game at protests, it's really not worth giving much attention to. Most of all, because the march was a total success for several reasons. Firstly, because the independence movement has once again shown its great strength in mobilizing its supporters to claim the right to self-determination, the freedom of the political prisoners and the return of exiles. They've been doing it successfully for so long that it seems normal, but it isn't at all easy, as is very well known by those who never achieve it.
Secondly, because the differing attitudes of the Catalan political parties, immersed in as many dogfights as there are decisions to be made, has been overcome again by the people's desire for unity. Thirdly, the Madrid march has confirmed that there is a Spain (even if it's small) which sides with Catalan independence, with its demands and its political positions. A small Spain that does accept the October 1st referendum and openly denounces the repression in Catalonia.
Let history remember that on March 16th, 2019, Catalan independence took to the streets of Madrid with its symbols, its flags, its banners and its values. And it took the lead in giving a lesson in dignity in the capital where its political prisoners are currently being unjustly tried in the Supreme Court and where the call to "Go get 'em" grew loud while the law was being broken and the fundamental rights of Catalans were being breached in a repression that, in some its aspects, has not yet ended.