The Escola Industrial, an imposing building in the center of Barcelona, was on October 1, 2017 the largest voting center in Catalonia. There the Government had planned to hold the main act of commemoration of the date, as announced by the spokesperson Patricia Plaja last Tuesday. But this will not be the case because the Barcelona Provincial Council, which owns the building, has denied permission to carry out this ceremony, alluding to technical and operational reasons. The decision, taken by a coalition government between the PSC and the Junts, has generated discomfort in the Generalitat, which sees political reasons behind the rejection.
The event that the Government was preparing was an institutional act with the presence of the president of the Generalitat and all the councilors, which was to be held at 9 am. The chosen place was the Building of the Clock, located within the monumental complex that has diverse uses, among them a part of offices of the Diputación itself. Last week the Presidency of the Government contacted the Protocol area of the Provincial Council to request to reserve the space. The efforts continued and even Government personnel made a technical visit to prepare the adaptation and materials necessary for the event.
But this Tuesday afternoon the Provincial Council ended up communicating to the Generalitat that the act could not be carried out, as The Mon advanced. Sources from the supramunicipal institution explain that there are two reasons, both of a technical nature. On the one hand, they indicate that the place chosen by the Executive is an office area where employees’ jobs are located, so holding an event at 9 in the morning is impossible. On the other hand, they allude to COVID reasons and assure that the County Council’s risk prevention department has ruled out the possibility of holding a ceremony of this type. This Wednesday night the Government ended by announcing that it was moving the event to a building of the Department of Health.
Sources from the Provincial Council also explain that the request made by the Government was not official, much less was it channeled through the presidential teams, as they consider it would have been appropriate. They also ensure that the Government did not communicate at any time that the event had the participation of the entire Executive or that it was to commemorate the appointment of 1-O. However, they allude to purely technical reasons for rejecting it because, they say, the request has been dismissed so quickly that “there has not been time” to take a political position.
From Junts, members of the coalition that governs the institution, do not hesitate to attribute the entanglement to a maneuver by the Presidency of the Government and the ERC. “They clearly wanted to be able to say that the government of the Diputación, shared by PSC and Junts, does not allow an event to be held for the anniversary of October 1,” party sources explain, who assure that they found out about the problem this Tuesday afternoon, when the decision was already made. “We immediately spoke with the socialists to soften them up and find an alternative, but they were very offended and closed in on the band,” they explain from Junts.
Those same Junts sources explain that it was possible to carry out the act in the Escola del Treball building, which is located in the same enclosure and that it would have kept the symbolism of remembering the largest voting point of the day of 1- OR. But finally the decision has been to move the event to La Maternitat, another large industrial area where the Generalitat CatSalut body is based. There the Government will read a statement and will carry out the institutional act of the day.