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Hundreds of Thousands March for Independence in Spain's Catalonia Region

Spain Catalonia Independence: People wave "estelada" flags, that symbolize Catalonia's independence, during a demonstration calling for the independence of Catalonia, in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.

Hundreds of thousands of Catalans marched in Barcelona and other Spanish cities Sunday to rally for independence for the country's northeastern region.

Catalan police say as many as 800,000 marchers turned out while the Spanish government in Madrid, which is opposed to independence, say the turnout was less than half that number.

Calatonia's pro-independence regional government has set the middle of next year as a target for independence from Spain, but has been unable to persuade the central government to approve a referendum on the issue.

Political feuds inside the Catalan coalition government and the struggling Spanish economy have also complicated the matter.

Many Catalans say they are getting impatient with the seemingly slow movement toward breaking away from Spain and say they would like to see the region declare independence unilaterally.

Catalonia has its own distinct language and culture and has been desiring independence from Madrid for hundreds of years.