Catalonians have flooded the streets of Barcelona once again for the region’s national day to demand independence from Spain.
The annual mass demonstrations of September 11th, the Catalan national day or La Diada drew about 2 million people demanding independence last year and today’s gathering appears equally as massive.
Today’s rally is the third huge demonstration in support of independence that Catalans organise on September 11, their National day. The masses of people stretched nearly 6 kilometres long.
The tradition may be coming to an end: because, for the first time, there is a real prospect of their demands being met. In just two weeks, this stateless nation will hold crucial parliamentary elections that are being framed as a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence.
Independence backers say a win would give them a mandate to start drafting a Catalan constitution and attempt secession negotiations with the central government. A unilateral declaration of independence could be made by the parliament by 2017.
— Fiona Govan (@fifimadrid) September 11, 2015
“This, we hope, will be the last demo on this topic,” said Liz Castro, of the grassroots organisation behind the march, the Catalan National Assembly. “We are not burning anything or turning over cars. We are joyfully demonstrating for the right to decide in a peaceful way.”
Her group has been organising these marches since 2012. From a tiny grassroots organisation, it has grown in to the popular force many think has pushed mainstream Catalan politicians further towards greater autonomy or full independence statehood for the nation, reports the Scottland Herald.
This year a human mosaic was displayed along the 5.2-kilometre route from the ‘Parc de la Ciutadella’ – where the Catalan Parliament is located – to the outskirts of the Catalan capital. Demonstrators dressed in white symbolising the blank page that is Catalonia’s future and showed coloured cards all along the way, symbolising the 10 key concepts that will define an independent Catalonia and according to the strecht they were allocated.