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Spanish king Felipe VI and prime minister Pedro Sánchez will set foot in Catalonia this Friday and the independence movement is preparing protests. The two highest authority figures in the Spanish state will arrive early tomorrow morning to visit the SEAT automobile plant in Martorell, 30 kilometres from Barcelona, and pro-independence activists will be waiting for them.

This is, at least, the intention of major pro-independence groups the ANC, Òmnium Cultural and the CDRs, which have already called rallies in the municipality where the car plant is located. The last time the Spanish monarch came to Catalonia was on December 21st, a trip which he made incognito - the Royal House did not even announce it - to present the Cervantes Prize for literature to the poet Joan Margarit.

With his secret visit at the end of last year, the Spanish king wanted to avoid the major protests he has suffered on other recent visits, such as last October, when he visited the Catalan capital to attend the Barcelona New Economy Week event, as well as in July 2020, when he and queen Letizia toured Spain to much fanfare - but they only entered Catalonia to visit the rural monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet.

ANC, Omnium and CDRs

Despite the place and time of the visit - it would be much easier to call a protest any evening in the centre of Barcelona city - the pro-independence civil groups are aiming at sizeable attendances. The first to call a protest were the CDRs (Committees in Defence of the Republic), who asked protesters to gather at Placa Joan Serrats in Martorell at 9am.

"The leaders of the regime intend to treat us as a colony once again. In support of freedom of expression, those facing reprisals and the Republic: let's give them the welcome they deserve!" said the CDR tweet.

This Thursday, the ANC (Catalan National Assembly) and Òmnium Cultural have added their own call to protest. Both groups have directed their followers to two different meeting points at 9:30am: the northern access to the SEAT works, on Avinguda de Ca n'Amat at the bridge which crosses the A-2 motorway; or alternatively, the southern access at the Plaça 19 bridge over the AP-7 motorway, on Avinguda Can Cases in the Creu de Martorell district.

The ANC tweeted: "Tomorrow we will make it clear again that Catalonia has no king! We call for mobilization on the occasion of the visit of the Spanish monarch. We will carry out actions on different bridges surrounding the SEAT factory in Martorell."

Ómnium Cultural calls supporters to the same two meeting points at the same time, 9:30am. "This Friday we will make it clear again that Catalonia has no king, and that Felipe VI is not welcome in our country," they said.

Later, pro-independence political parties ERC, JxCat and the CUP also shared the protest messages to their own supporters.