With less attendance than the demonstrations of previous years, but the Diada has returned to the streets. Thousands of independentistas have attended the convocation of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and tour the center of Barcelona. “Let’s fight and win independence” is the slogan of a march that aims to pressure sovereign parties, especially ERC, to take up the secessionist agenda and disdain the commitment to dialogue with the Government.
Before the official start of the march – at 5:14 p.m., a nod to September 11, 1714, when Barcelona fell in front of the Bourbon troops – hundreds of people were already gathering in Plaça Urquinaona and the end of Carrer Pau Claris, scene of the violent confrontations between young people and policemen after the sentence of the procés in 2019.
The atmosphere is far from resembling that of the most turbulent stage of the procés and instead reminds of that of the September 11 demonstrations of the last decade: couples, families and groups of friends – most of them older – wanting to once again claim the independence after the atypical Diada of last year, very reduced and static due to the pandemic. The sun is also shining after a week of showers in Barcelona.
“Politicians have to know that the people have not forgotten about independence,” say Ramon and Montse, who have been walking from Sant Cugat. Small posters are handed out next to him proclaiming “We demand independence.” “The dialogue table will be of no use”, predict Joan and Miquel, a vision that is surely shared by the majority of those attending the march.
As the parties did not have a reserved space at the beginning of the demonstration, the politicians have been distributed throughout the march, which has caused them to mix with the attendees. The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, has been received with whistles and cries of “independence”. Aragonès has attended the march together with a large representation of ERC, led by the leader of the party, Oriol Junqueras.
The march is led by the leader of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, and the president of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, in a special Diada because it is the first in which he has participated since 2017. Cuixart, very active, distributes greetings and kisses to everyone world that greets you from afar.
This year’s Diada comes two months after the pro-independence leaders convicted of sedition were pardoned by the Government and is marked by the division between ERC and Junts over the dialogue table with the central Executive next week. If in previous years September 11 was a day of truce, this year ERC and the Junts have not avoided exposing their discrepancies in public.
As the general secretary of the Junts, Jordi Sànchez, did in the morning, the president of the Parliament, Laura Borràs, has declared her “skepticism” regarding the dialogue table, in addition to accusing the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, of “boycott” the negotiation. On the other hand, the deputy general secretary of ERC, Marta Vilalta, has asked to “transfer the strength” of the march to the dialogue table. Later it will be the turn of the ANC parliaments with which the march will close.