Tractors in Catalonia Referendum protest © Matthias Oesterle/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock© Matthias Oesterle/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Hundreds of farmers descended on Barcelona in their tractors to back Catalonia’s bid for independence.

About 700 tractors were said to have taken part in the parade on Friday (29 September), according to local reports.

Catalonia is a wealthy region in north-eastern Spain and has its own language and culture, but under the Spanish constitution it is not recognised as a separate nation.

An unauthorised referendum asking if Catalonia should become an independent state was held on 1 October, amid widespread protests and violence as police attempted to prevent voters from reaching polling stations.

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Many of the farmers emblazoned their tractors with Catalonia flags – bearing the one star of Catalan independence – and they honked their horns as they entered the famous city.

Thronging crowds greeted the procession, dubbed a “Tractorada”, to huge cheers as the vehicles filed past famous buildings, such as the Sagrada Familia church.

Tractor processions continued over the weekend and into Monday (2 October) in Barcelona amid reports that hundreds were injured in violent clashes between firefighters and police and the public.

The Catalan government said it had earned the right to split after preliminary results showed that 90% of Catalonians voted in favour of independence in Sunday’s (1 October) referendum.

But the Spanish government said the vote was unconstitutional. In a televised address, Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, said the vote “did not happen”.