Protesters wave Spanish and Catalan Senyera flags during a pro-unity demonstration in Barcelona on October 29, 2017. AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU
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Hundreds of thousands of supporters of a unified Spain filled Barcelona's streets Sunday in one of the biggest shows of force yet by the so-called silent majority that has watched as regional leaders push for Catalan independence.Political parties opposing a split by Catalonia from Spain had a small lead in an opinion poll published Sunday, the first since Madrid called a regional election to try to resolve the country's worst political crisis in four decades.Spain's central government called an election for Dec. 21 Friday after sacking Catalonia's President Carles Puigdemont, dissolving its Parliament and dismissing its government.The poll of 1,000 people by Sigma Dos for newspaper El Mundo showed unionist parties winning 43.4 percent support and pro-independence parties 42.5 percent.The deposed Catalan government will soon have to make difficult decisions, Puigdemont's former deputy Oriol Junqueras said Sunday in an editorial in online newspaper El Punt Avui. He stopped short of saying his ERC party would take part in the election.With weeks to go before the election, the poll showed the CUP, kingmaker for the pro-secessionists in the dismissed 135-seat Parliament, would win seven seats, down from a current 10 .
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