Catalan separatists were flocking to withdraw cash Friday in protest at the central government and at banks that have moved their headquarters out of the Spanish region over its independence crisis.
Some protesters were making symbolic withdrawals of 155 euros ($183) -- a reference to Article 155 of the constitution, which Madrid is using to start imposing direct rule over semi-autonomous Catalonia as its leader threatens to declare independence.
Others were opting for 1,714 euros in a nod to 1714, a highly symbolic date for independence supporters marking the capture of Barcelona by the troops of king Felipe V, who then moved to reduce the rights of rebellious regions.
"It's a way of protesting. We don't want to do any harm to the Spanish or Catalan economy," said Roser Cobos, a 42-year-old lawyer who had just taken out 1,714 euros from the counter at a bank in Barcelona, the regional capital.
"It's the only way in which Catalans can show their disagreement with the attitude of the Spanish state."
Two influential grassroots separatist groups, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural, had issued a call on social media for activists to take "peaceful direct action" to show their opposition to the government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
The two groups, whose leaders have been detained since Monday pending investigation into sedition charges, specifically urged supporters to withdraw cash from the five main bank chains, "ideally between 8:00 am and 9:00 am".
'We have to react'
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