National Day for Yes planned in Barcelona for September 11 2017
This year’s mass protest for self-determination to feature giant yellow fluorescent plus sign in centre of Catalan capital two weeks before October 1 referendum
Positive is the way its organisers describe the demonstration planned for this year’s September 11 celebration on Catalonia’s national day. As every year since up to two million people turned out on the streets of Barcelona in 2012 to demand the right to self-determination, a mass protest has been organised for what is locally known as La Diada. This year with the protestors forming a giant plus sign, while wearing fluorescent yellow t-shirts printed with the word ‘yes’ in more than a dozen world languages.
Titled the Diada del Sí (National Day for Yes), the 2017 annual protest in the Catalan capital, which is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of people, will come just a fortnight before Catalans vote in a unilateral independence referendum the Catalan executive has planned for October 1.
Presented on Thursday evening, the organisers of the event promised an unforgettable National Day, filling the streets of the capital to show the world the widespread wish in the country for the chance to vote, whatever the outcome may be.
The idea behind this year’s event is for attendees to gather at the crossroads of Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia and Aragó avenue to form a giant plus sign, the arms of which are expected to stretch south as far as Casanova street, west as far as the Jardinets de Gràcia, north to Passeig de Sant Joan, and east to Plaça de Catalunya. The plus-shaped demo will be divided into 48 sections, with each section corresponding to a Catalan county, with attendees asked to be in position by 4pm.
A feature of recent Diada protests has been the t-shirts designed for each September 11 in the national colours of red and yellow. This year, the organisers are encouraging people to come to the demonstration wearing t-shirts from previous editions or that represent any other cause they feel is important.
As the event proper begins at 17.14 hours (1714 being the year that Barcelona fell in the War of the Spanish Succession and lost its national rights), four huge banners will begin to be unveiled at each end of the plus sign. As the huge banners unfurl towards the centre, people will be asked to don the t-shirt designed for this year’s event, producing a fluorescent wave of colour all the way to the centre of the protest.
When the mass manoeuvre is complete and the fluorescent plus sign visible from the air has set the tone of positivity for the day, speakers from organisations associated with the event will address the crowd about the importance of taking part in the October 1 referendum and exercising their democratic rights, no matter their personal opinion on the issue of independence.
On Thursday, the event organisers explained that the fluorescent yellow colour of the 2017 Diada t-shirts had been chosen with visibility in mind and to pay tribute to the many volunteers who each year give up their time to make the event possible and who are recognisable by their high-visibility yellow tabards. With the official inscription service for the event opening at 5.30pm on July 20, the organisers encouraged the public to visit the si.assemblea.cat website to sign up and, as they put it, ensure ‘yes’ wins on September 11.