Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, of the center-right Popular Party (PP), sent Catalans a message of unity and solidarity on Catalonia Day using the country’s organ-transplant system as an example.
“Solidarity allows an Andalusian to live with the heart of a Catalan and viceversa. This generosity defines our identity as Spaniards,” read a message posted on his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon.
The conservative leader, who was visiting the facilities of Spain’s National Transplant Organization (ONT), drew further parallels between organ donation and national unity in a speech, on a day when pro-independence activists were marching across Catalonia.
No region by itself could achieve results like these without cooperation from others”
“No region, rowing by itself, could achieve comparable results [to the ONT’s] without cooperation from the others,” he stated.
Catalonia Day, known locally as the Diada, began with a defense of the referendum on self-rule that has been scheduled for November 9, but is fiercely opposed by the national government.
Regional premier Artur Mas, of the CiU bloc, said that “everything is ready” to hold the vote, and rejected the idea of early elections if the referendum is ultimately postponed or canceled.
While typically used as a showcase for pro-independence movements, this year’s Diada is particularly charged with meaning as the date of the referendum approaches. Both unionists and separatists are marching across the region to support their cause.