AFP – Catalan leader seeks big majority for ‘freedom’

The leader of Spain’s Catalonia region vowed Friday to fight for the “future of our nation” before a roaring crowd of supporters, ahead of weekend elections that could lead to a popular demand for statehood.

Artur Mas, president of the northeastern region, has promised a referendum on sovereignty for Catalonia if Sunday’s vote gives him and other pro-independence parties a mandate to do so.

“Catalonia is one of the oldest nations of Europe and all through history we have had to fight against very high obstacles, very strong setbacks,” Mas said, speaking in English to reach a foreign audience as he addressed a rally of supporters in a Barcelona stadium.

“But we have overcome our difficulties, we have fought against armies, we have fought against dictatorships, we have overcome setbacks and now we are alive, our culture is alive, our language is alive, our nation is alive,” he said, wrapping up his election campaign.

“We are not vassals of the state,” he told the crowd.

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