The people of Catalonia have once again held a massive rally in Barcelona in commemoration of September 11 (see last year). One would think that after several years of huge demostrations calling for independence from Spain, Catalans would be exhausted. After all, these tremendous gatherings of people are created voluntarily by the citizens of Catalonia. Nonetheless, Catalans have once again managed to amaze. This year a mega rally consisting of no less than 2 million people still managed to remain as peaceful, well mannered and merry as in previous years, and with no shortage of creativity.
A university student from my Catalan Culture class commented, in relation to the Catalan demonstrations, that the people of Catalonia should be praised not only for their determination and civility, but also for their creativity. I believe she was right, because the inventiveness displayed in each one of these rallies is truly remarkable.
This year the theme for the rally in Barcelona has been “Freeway to the Catalan Republic”. People gathered at the Meridiana Avenue in groups carrying pointers of ten different colors representing the objectives of the new Catalan Republic, such as democracy (yellow), social justice (brown), equality (lilac), sustainability (dark green) or culture and education (orange). At 17:14 hours (in reference to the year 1714 when Barcelona was conquered by Spain) in the middle of the street a giant pointer, carried by champion athletes, moved forward at around 15 km per hour towards the Catalan Parliament. As the giant pointer passed a group of a particular color, the group raised their pointers. At 18:00 hours the giant pointer arrived at its destination, a grand stage, to be followed by speeches and music.
In this link the video with the message from Liz Castro, in English, addressed to the world.
The event was attended by more than 150 international media journalists, from the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times International, al-Jazeera, Le Monde, Wall Street Journal, Le Figaro, and many others.
The Free Way demonstration this September 11 takes on a special significance because it is only 16 days away from the parlamentarian elections in Catalonia —September 27—, which will serve as a plebiscite for Catalonia’s secession from Spain and the creation of a new sovereign Catalan State.
Will the Catalan people finally break the chains that bind them to a country that despises them? Or are Catalans to continue entertaining the world with impressive demostrations while enduring further robbery, insults and attacks on their culture from Spain? If the votes on September 27 result in majority in favour of independence, and the Kingdom of Spain continues to refuse to accept the will of the people of Catalonia, perhaps then the international community, until now content to sit on the sidelines, will finally step forward.