Spain celebrates national day amid Catalan crisis
Madrid Oct 12 (IANS) Spain held a military parade on Thursday to celebrate its national day amid the Catalan crisis.
Spanish King Felipe VI presided over the traditional parade which was held a day after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gave an ultimatum to Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont to verify whether or not he had declared independence in his October 10 speech Xinhua news agency reported.
Along with the upcoming Monday ultimatum Rajoy also gave Puigdemont a further three days to withdraw the declaration in the case of an affirmative answer before starting procedures to suspend Catalan autonomy.
During Thursday s parade King Felipe VI was surrounded by political leaders from all of Spain s autonomous regions with the exception of Catalonia. Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena and leaders of Spain s other main parties were also present.
The parade returned to the central Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid under the slogan "Proud to be Spanish" and saw the participation of 3 900 military personnel 78 aircraft and 84 vehicles.
The scale made Thursday s parade the largest compared with last year s scale of 3 500 military personnel 59 aircraft and 43 vehicles.
There was applause from the crowds at the presence of the National Police force who were not part of the Spanish military while the ambulance service from the Madrid region were also present in the parade for the first time.
But shortly after the parade a fighter jet reportedly crashed which was later confirmed by the Defence Ministry.
A 120-strong French gendarmes contingent also participated in the parade.
The day also saw the traditional homage to the fallen which this year was dedicated to the victims of terrorism.
Following the parade King Felipe held a reception in the Royal Palace for 1 500 guests.