Preparations are already under way for the big demonstration the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) is organising for the Diada, the Catalan national day on 11th September. This year it comes at a highly complex political juncture.
After the independence referendum of 1st October, when over 2.2 million people turned out to vote and 90% said yes to independence, the Spanish state has mounted an unprecedented campaign of repression against citizens and against the independence movement. First it invoked article 155 of the Spanish constitution to liquidate Catalan self-government and suspend the Catalan parliament. Then came the persecution, exile and imprisonment of civil and political leaders, some of whom have been in prison awaiting trial for over 10 months, in a pre-trial process filled with irregularities and with no guarantee of a fair trial. The peaceful, democratic attitude of Catalan society has been met by the Spanish government only with repression.
Insisting on the mandate of the referendum of 1st October
The organisers have explained that this year’s demonstration will be to insist on the mandate of 1st October and defend the declaration of independence by the Catalan parliament on 27th October 2017, which has not been implemented.
It is hoped that hundreds of thousands of people will come out onto the streets of Barcelona to call for independence for Catalonia under the slogan ‘Fem la República Catalana’ – ‘Let’s build the Catalan Republic’. This will be the seventh consecutive year that the ANC has organised a massive demonstration to call for the right of self-determination for Catalonia. Since 2012, every year over a million people have turned out for demonstrations that have always been peaceful and orderly. Another massive attendance is expected, especially after the victory of the yes vote in the referendum of 1st October and the context of repression.
The demonstration will fill the Diagonal in Barcelona, a wide avenue that forms one of the main arteries of the city. People will spread out along the avenue and, from 5.14pm – in a reference to the fall of Barcelona in 1714 – they will create a wave of sound that will travel the length of the Diagonal. Demonstrators will carry their own banners and placards, so giving citizens a voice to overcome the obstacles to implementation of the Catalan Republic.
The ANC in action internationally
Barcelona will not be the only city where the national day will be celebrated with calls to implement the referendum result. The ANC’s groups abroad are already mobilising, getting ready to come out onto the street on 11th September in major cities in Europe and around the world.
The ANC has made a promotional video, translated into seven languages, which you can watch here, highlighting the leading role played by citizens themselves in the whole independence process. A leading role that made 1st October possible and will have to continue in order to make independence a reality.