Pro-Spanish demonstrators protest in center of Barcelona, Spain, March 4, 2018.
Pro-Spanish demonstrators protest in center of Barcelona, Spain, March 4, 2018.

Thousands of Spaniards for unity marched Sunday in Barcelona in support of a grassroots group that mocks Catalonia's separatist movement.

The group, "Platform for Tabarnia," facetiously calls for the secession of the cities of Barcelona and Tarragona from Catalonia - allowing them to remain in Spain as the rest of Catalonia calls for secession.

Under the slogan "the joke is over — long live Tabarnia," as many as 15,000 pro-unity Spaniards waving flags of Spain and the fictitious Tabarnia took to Barcelona streets.

The group also employs the slogan, "Barcelona is not Catalonia," a twist on the state's secessionist slogan, "Catalonia is not Spain."

Political unrest has rocked Catalonia since it unsuccessfully tried to secede from Spain in September.Independence parties maintained a slim majority in the state following December elections, but leader Carles Puigdemont is exiled in Brussels, while other former leaders are in jail.