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More than 10,000 people have taken part in a march in Perpinyà in support of the Catalan Countries - the Mediterranean lands where the Catalan language is spoken and the culture has strong roots. The city of Perpinyà, politically part of France, but the capital of the Rossellò county which historically constituted the northern part of Catalonia, this Saturday held a celebration to coincide with its own Diada or national day. Under the slogan "Let's fill Perpinyà", huge numbers of Catalans from all over Catalan territory took part to join the call for the independence of the Catalan Countries. 

During the rally, held in the city's Plaça Catalunya, supporters called for the release of the Catalan political prisoners as well as for unity across the Catalan territories - which also include the Valencian Country and the Balearic Islands, as well as parts of Sardinia (the city of L'Alguer) and Aragon (La Franja).  

The vice president of the Catalan cultural group Òmnium, Marcel Mauri, and the president of the Catalan National Assembly, Elisenda Paluzie, read letters that imprisoned leaders of the two groups, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez, had sent from Lledoners jail. Both leaders spoke of their gratitude for the work that many Northern Catalans carried out to make possible the independence referendum on 1st October 2017. "The cause of freedom has brought us even closer together. With your immense generosity we carried out, on 1st October, the most beautiful exercise in collective sovereignty that has been experienced in Europe in recent years", wrote Cuixart. 

"Jordi Cuixart: With the [Catalan] language as element of social cohesion. In Alguer [Sardinia], the Valencian Country, Northern Catalonia, the [Balearic] Islands, and the Franja [Aragon]: in every part of the country we make Catalan our point of encounter with everyone who arrives looking for a more dignified life."   — Òmnium Cultural 

Northern Catalonia celebrates its Diada or national day every 7th November to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, under which Spain gave Rosselló county to France as part of the agreement to end the Thirty Years' War.