VilaWeb: The ANC will leave politicians outside the Diada protest guest zone

This is a translation of an article from Catalan newspaper VilaWeb entitled “L’ANC deixarà els polítics fora de la zona de convidats de la manifestació de la Diada“. VilaWeb publishes some of their own articles in English here.

Political party leaders will not have access to the guest zone for this year’s Diada protest organised by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC). They have been excluded. This was decided by a broad consensus by the entity’s national secretariat, after having received the unease of many local ANC groups for the lack of strategic unity between the pro-independence parties, expressed, in addition, with pacts such as the one between Junts per Catalunya and PSC in the Provincial Deputation of Barcelona and ERC’s abstention in Pedro Sánchez’s investiture vote in the Spanish Congress. Sources in the ANC have confirmed this to VilaWeb.

This morning, one of the members of the secretariat, Joan Marc Jesús, published the decision on Twitter:

Eh @sergisabria @elsa_artadi @Aurora_Madaula @martavilaltat
You will have to take your selfies with the people on foot. That way you can also take the opportunity to listen to what we ask for. #ObjectiuIndependència

This implies that this time the ANC will not be sending invitations to institutional representatives and political parties to attend the Diada event from the guest zone. The only ones who will be there will be representatives from the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), due to the collaborative relationship between the two entities.

1.4 million in la Meridiana for independence

1.4 million catalans took to Barcelona’s Avinguda Meridiana today to demonstrate in support of independence for the region, according to police estimates.

11 September is the Diada Nacional de Catalunya, which commemorates the date in 1714 when Barcelona fell to the Bourbon King Felipe V and Catalunya lost its state of independence.

In recent years, the Diada has become an opportunity for supporters of independence, the number of whom has been growing as a result of both the financial crisis and the policies implemented by Spain’s ruling Partido Popular, to assert their right to decide their own future.

Today’s demonstration, called the Via Lliure, was designed to be symbolic of the way towards a free and fair Catalan Republic. 5.2 kilometers (3.2 miles) of La Meridiana were filled with hundreds of thousands of catalans, split into ten sections to represent the ten foundation pillars of the Catalan Republic. At 17.14, a giant yellow pointer started moving in the direction of the Generalitat, the Catalan Parliament.

As the pointer moved through each of the ten sections, the crowds raised their own colour pointers representing their foundation pillar: from democracy to regional stability, solidarity to the world, diversity to sustainability, equality to social justice, and innovation to culture and education.

The Via Lliure is the culmination of a number of events across the region, and around the world, which point towards elections to the Catalan Parliament taking place on 27 September. Political parties representing left and right have put their political differences aside to stand, together with prominent voices from civil society (including singer and campaigner Lluís Llach and former FC Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola), under the banner of Junts pel Sí (Together for Yes).

If Junts pel Sí win a majority of votes and seats on 27 September, they plan to set in motion the process of creating an independent Catalan Republic which, they claim, could be formed in as little as 18 months. However, such a move would be against the Spanish Constitution, which states that Spain is indivisible, and whichever government has power in Madrid following the national election in December is unlikely to allow Catalunya independence without a fight.

For now, supporters of independence have made the strength of their beliefs clear in la Meridiana but, according to the slogan, on 27 September on tot comença – it all starts!

Catalan Weekend postponed to September

Those of you who read my St George’s Day message of solidarity will have seen my shameless plug for the Catalan Weekend.

Organisers Òmnium Cultural have announced that the event will not now take place in June, but instead will be held between 10 and 12 September.

Although this may seem, on the face of it, to be a disappointing setback, it is actually very exciting for supporters of Catalan independence and for those who wish to experience the strong sense of Catalan nationalism.

Catalan Weekend has been rescheduled to coincide with the Diada Nacional de Catalunya (the National Day of Catalunya) on 11 September, when catalans commemorate the end of the Siege of Barcelona during the War of Spanish Succession in 1714, when Barcelona fell to the Bourbons and Catalunya lost its independence.

For catalans, not only is 11 September an important day historically, it is also an opportune time to reaffirm their desire for independence, as this video from 2014 (where supporters of independence formed a giant human V in Barcelona – signifying “votar”, their call for a referendum) demonstrates:

Once again, I would strongly urge each and every single one of you consider attending the Catalan Weekend and seeing first-hand the case – and support – for independence.

Catalunya vol viure en llibertat!