SPANISH unionists – some carrying Francoist banners – have protested in the Catalan capital Barcelona at the government of President Quim Torra and urged Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez: “No pacts with terrorists or separatists.”

Some of the 2000 crowd were members of the far-right Vox and Generation Identity parties in a demonstration organised by Spanish businessman José Manuel Opazo, whom Torra has described as “the beast in human form”.

It came two days before the Catalan National Day, La Diada, a huge pro-independence demonstration expected to attract more than the million people who attended last year.

They will hear from a succession of speakers, including lawyers Ben Emmerson and Aamer Anwar, who represented St Andrews Professor Clara Ponsati, a former Catalan education minister, during a Spanish bid to extradite her from Scotland.

Anwar will tell tomorrow’s rally how dictator Francisco Franco still appears to be influencing the Spanish state.

He will say: “In 1939 Fascist troops marched into Barcelona, we must never see a return to those dark days but General Franco still appears to be dictating every move to the Spanish state.

“Franco would be very proud of the actions of the Spanish state, of Rajoy, the judges, police and of course Pedro Sanchez ... The right to self-determination is a fundamental human right and after more than 300 years of oppression, Spain will never succeed in crushing the aspirations of the Catalan people.”

One of the groups involved in organising La Diada is Omnium Cultural, whose leader Jordi Cuixart, is one nine prisoners in jail since last year for their role in the October referendum.

Cuixart told the Catalan News Agency that the independence movement must assume that more people will be jailed.

“It would be absurd to put prison and threats of violence from the state as a limit. There needs to be a motive of collective self-esteem, of people in Catalonia ready to go to prison to defend democracy in the 21st century,” he said.

Journalist Marcel Mauri, vice-president and spokesperson for Omnium, said the National Day would remain “peaceful and vindicating”.

He said: “The Catalan people simply ask to solve the political conflicts by the means of democracy, and not with repression, jail and violence.”

Meanwhile, strong winds and the fact that many of their members are in Barcelona for La Diada, saw a lower than expected turnout at a protest by the Catalan Defence Committee Edinburgh at Calton Hill.

One member of the group, Steve West, said: “The wind was so strong that the ribbons wouldn’t stay up the columns, but our banners worked OK.”