Spain will celebrate Fiesta Nacional de España (National Day of Spain) on Thursday, October 12, in commemoration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. The celebration will consist of a military parade along the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid between Cuzco Square and Raimundo Fernández Villaverde Street, as well as celebrations nationwide.
This year’s holiday also coincides with heightened tensions between the Spanish central government and Catalonia, which has given rise to a series of demonstrations both for and against Catalan secession. A pro-Spain rally is expected to take place in Barcelona (capital of the Catalonia region) at 11:00 (local time) on October 12 between La Pedrera and Plaça Catalunya.
A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions, especially surrounding large gatherings in Catalonia, should be expected across the country on October 12.
A referendum on Catalonian independence was held on October 1. The poll was declared illegal by the central government, which had attempted to block the vote through a series of logistical and legal measures as well as through force. At least 893 people were injured in clashes in Catalonia between pro-independence protesters and police on October 1.
According to Catalan officials, 42.3 percent of Catalans voted in the referendum, 90 percent of whom were in favor of independence.
Although the celebrations are expected to remain peaceful, Individuals present in Spain, and Catalonia in particular, are advised to avoid all demonstrations and to keep abreast of the situation. Travelers should anticipate heightened security in major cities and associated transportation disruptions.