There are no large avenues in Barcelona that have not succumbed yet to push for the
sovereignty of Catalonia. If last year the Diagonal and Gran Vía formed a woven path filled in
by people dressed in red and yellow shirts, yesterday, on the 11th September, was the
Meridian, the artery of the slums, which hosted hundreds of thousands of people who, for
the fourth day straight, rallied for independence of Catalonia. Around a million and a half
people took out in the streets to express their will for an Independent Catalonia from Spain.
But yesterday was different from previous years, for the following crucial reason: Catalonia
is already witnessing an election campaign. Citizens will vote on September 27 in an election
of regional format, but to which the separatists want to give a plebiscitary aspect (meaning
that it’s not needed a majority of votes in the election, but rather a 50% +1 result). The
leaders of Catalonia have stressed their preference for issuing a referendum on the matter,
instead of elections; however, the central government has blocked the initiative. The main
leaders of Junts pel Sí, except for Artur Mas, have participated in the march, and stressed the
importance of imposing the separatist ideology during the elections polls.
Although he was not at the rally to preserve its “institutional role” the president of the
Generalitat (Catalonia) did not miss the chance to try to emphasize his position on the
matter during the momentum once more. At 20:30 hours, after receiving the organizers of
the march, Mas spoke live on TV3 to remind Catalans’ that “in the streets people influence,
but at the ballot box people make decisions”.
The pro-independence demonstration was as impressive as in previous years, and was also
designed to impress those who followed on television. But the symbolism this year was even
more confusing and impressive than the human chain made in 2013 and “V” for “victory”
made in 2014: more than five kilometers from the Meridian yesterday were divided into 10
sections, each dedicated to the most varied subjects represented by this demonstrations.
The Free Way, the official name of the demonstration, claimed a range of different
elements: culture, innovation, social justice, equality, sustainability, diversity, solidarity,
regional balance and, eventually, democracy. According to the organizers of the
demonstration, these are the “great challenges of the new country, Catalonia”. Citizens of
Catalonia have asked the President, Mariano Rajoy, to forget the imperialist motivation of
the Spanish Old Crown, and to rather adapt to the current democracy which is to allow the
self-determination right of a people.
The Spanish government has replied to the demonstrations: Saenz de Santamaria launched
an eloquent message through social networks asking to end the rally: ” A democracy is not
only going to the polls but also ensuring the application of the law and the respect for
human rights through the courts”. The government assures that as many people as
participated in the demonstrations, the same amount of people, if not more, have not gone
out to the streets to rally for the separatist cause. In fact, they have accused Artur Mas
(current leader of Catalonia) of expulsing from the rally those who issued claims against the
The bottom line of this continued fight between Catalonia and the Central Government of
Spain is that the Meridian is clearly the “starting point” to fight for freedom of the Catalan
people, although we won’t know what the reality holds until the polls reveal the results of
the elections. Even then, thee spanish government has an important saying on the matter.