Spain celebrates Nat´l day amid Catalan crisis
12 Oct 2017, 21:26 ( 2 Months ago)
Spain held a military parade on Thursday to celebrate its national day amid the Catalan crisis.
Spanish King Felipe VI presided over the traditional parade, which was held a day after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gave Monday as an ultimatum to Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to verify whether or not he had declared the independence on Oct. 10 speech.
Along with the Monday ultimatum, Rajoy also gave Puigdemont further three days to withdraw the declaration, in the case of an affirmative answer, before starting procedures to suspend Catalan autonomy.
On Thursday's parade, King Felipe VI was surrounded by political leaders from all of Spain's Autonomous Regions with the exception of Catalonia. The Mayor of Madrid Manuela Carmena and leaders of Spain's other main parties were also present.
The parade returned to the central Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid under the slogan "Proud to be Spanish," and saw the participation of 3,900 military personnel, 78 aircraft and 84 vehicles.
The scale has made Thursday's parade the largest compared with last year's scale of 3,500 military personnel, 59 aircraft and 43 vehicles.
There was applause from crowds with the presence of the National Police force, who are not part of the Spanish military, while the ambulance service from the Madrid region were also present in the parade for the first time.
But shortly after the parade, a fighter jet was reportedly crashed, which was later confirmed by the Defense Ministry.
A 120-strong French gendarme, who are currently training in Spain, also participated in the parade.
The day also saw the traditional homage to the fallen, which this year was dedicated to the victims of jihadist terrorism with the ambassadors from the countries of victims of the Aug. 17 attack on Las Ramblas de Barcelona, all invited, along with the Association of Victims of Terrorism.
Following the parade King Felipe offered a reception in the Royal Palace to 1,500 guests.