Quebec sovereigntists held a demonstration in Montreal on Saturday in support of Catalans, who they say are being repressed.
The rally took place in downtown Montreal, in front of the Spanish consulate.
Le Réseau Cap sur l’indépendance — an umbrella organization representing about 20 Quebec sovereignty groups — was protesting Spain’s attempt to stop a banned independence referendum in Catalonia.
Jennifer Drouin, president of Quebec Anglos for Independence, explains that “all people have a right to their self-determination.
“The Quebec people have a right to their self-determination, the Catalonian people have a right to their self-determination, and what the Spanish government is doing is reprehensible.”
“We’re calling upon all Democrats in the world, to say to the Spanish government, ‘Let them vote,'” adds Jean-Francois Lisée, Parti Québécois leader.
The vote to separate from Spain is scheduled for Oct. 1. On Friday, Spain sent more state police to try to block the referendum, joining other officers who have raided regional government offices.
“Right now, they are cutting off Internet, they are using judge, the Spanish judge and laws against us,” according to protester Lia Blanco, a protester with Catalan roots.
But the Catalan government is determined to hold the vote.
This isn’t the first time Quebec sovereigntist groups have voiced support for independence movements outside Canada, and Catalans at the rally say it is important to support people’s right to choose, whether in Quebec or abroad.
But some, like Mariona Gene, point out that there is one key difference between Catalonia and Quebec.
“Actually, it’s been the people who have been pushing the government to ask for this referendum. Here in Quebec, I would say it’s not really like this.”
Still, many at the rally are grateful for the support from Quebec sovereigntists because it gives help to legitimize their cause.
“For us, it’s really important to have international support,” explains Blanco. “Because the European Union and different countries, they keep saying it’s an internal problem from Spain. And in the end, it’s not true because there are lots of regions like Catalonia all over the world.”