Thousands of Catalans rallied in Barcelona on Sunday to demand the formation of a government that will continue a push for their region’s secession from the rest of Spain.

The march was organised by the leading pro-independence grassroots group the Catalan National Assembly, under the slogan “Republic Now!”

The region’s leaders unsuccessfully declared independence from Spain in October in violation of the nation’s constitution.

Spain CataloniaDemonstrators wave Catalan pro-independence Estelada flags (Manu Fernandez/AP)

Pro-secession parties maintained a slim majority after a December election called by the Spanish government, but since then they have been locked in drawn-out negotiations on forming a government.

“What we are doing today is taking to the streets as citizens to demand that the republic that we voted for in October continue forward,” rally organiser Agusti Alcoberro said.

Polls show Catalans are equally divided on independence.