Barcelona, Spain – JOURNALISTBarcelona has seen its number of Catalan citizens leave its streets in the wake of Catalonia’s referendum to secede from Spain.JOURNALS BIRCH, SpainA crowd of Catalans in Barcelona watched a pro-independence referendum on Catalan independence on television from the city’s El Prat stadium, which is home to Barcelona’s national team.
The crowd of about 100,000 gathered for the match against Barcelona FC, the country’s third largest club.
The match was the first time the Catalan capital’s home team played its home games in the last 20 years.
After Barcelona FC scored its first goal in the first half, the crowd rose to its feet, chanting “No to the Catalans!”
A crowd gathers in the Nou Camp, the Catalan city’s main square, on September 11, 2017.
A Spanish national flag is seen in the background.
A crowd gathered in the Barcelona city centre, on the day of the Catalan referendum, on August 24, 2017.(AP Photo/Ricardo Llorente)The Catalan capital, with about 4 million people, had seen its population drop from a peak of more than 10 million to about 5 million by September.
Catalonia’s vote to segue from Spain to the European Union is seen as a vote against Spain’s conservative Popular Party, a coalition of nationalist parties.
Barcelona, home to the Spanish soccer team Barca and the national soccer club, Atletico Madrid, voted overwhelmingly to break away from Spain, while other Spanish cities voted to stay part of the country.
The referendum was a symbolic step toward independence for the region.
It was the second secession referendum in the past five years.
The vote took place amid a major economic crisis, with unemployment reaching an all-time high of 15 percent in Catalonia.
The region has seen the number of unemployed rise by more than 30 percent in the 10 months following the vote, the highest level in Spain, according to a recent survey by the government.