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Thousands Rally In Spain Calling For ‘Unity’ Over Catalonia Crisis

A couple kiss during a demonstration in Madrid in favor of dialogue to resolve Catalonia's bid for independence.

Thousands rallied in Madrid and Barcelona on October 7 to show their support for a united Spain and to call for talks amid a political crisis caused by Catalonia’s push for secession.

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered to protest in Madrid, while other demonstrations were held in the Catalan city of Barcelona calling for political dialogue.

Organizers of the rallies, under the slogan "Shall We Talk?" in a message to Spain’s politicians, asked people not to bring any flags and to wear white.

Protesters came with signs saying "Spain is better than its leaders" and "Let's Talk.”

The rallies come six days after Catalonia held a referendum on secession that Spain’s government has declared illegal and the top court has suspended.

Catalan authorities said about 90 percent of the 2.26 million people who participated in the independence referendum voted in favor of a split from Spain. Officials said turnout was about 42 percent of the region’s 5.34 million registered voters.

Based on reporting by AP, BBC, and AFP