NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?


Catalan human towers will simultaneously call for the right of self-determination in 8 European cities

On Sunday 8 June at 12.00 pm, traditional Catalan human towers will be built in iconic spots of Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona, to petition for Catalan citizens' right to hold a self-determination vote in order to decide on their own collective future as a nation. The performance aims to raise international awareness about the will of the majority of Catalan people to hold such a vote, which is being totally blocked by the Spanish Government. According to all polls, between 75% and 80% of Catalans want to hold a self-determination vote. The 8 demonstrations will take place at the exact same time across these 8 European cities and they will be simultaneously replicated in 41 towns throughout Catalonia with further towers, called 'castells'. This large-scale performance has been organised by the civil-society organisation Òmnium Cultural and it is exclusively funded with private money.

SHARE

06 June 2014 09:16 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Sunday 8 June at 12.00 pm, traditional Catalan human towers will be built in iconic spots of Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona, to petition for Catalan citizens' right to hold a self-determination vote in order to decide on their own collective future as a nation. The performance aims to raise awareness at international level about the will of the majority of Catalan people to hold such a vote, which is being totally blocked by the Spanish Government. According to all the opinion polls published in the last 2 years, between 75% and 80% of Catalans want to hold a self-determination vote. In addition, recent polls indicate that between 50% and 55% of all Catalans would support independence in a referendum and around 25% would oppose, while the rest would abstain or are still undecided. A wide majority of Catalan parties reached an agreement last December to hold an independence vote on the 9 November, 2014, following the mandate of the last Catalan Parliament elections. Sunday's 8 demonstrations will take place at the exact same time across these 8 European cities and they will be simultaneously replicated in 41 towns throughout Catalonia with further towers, called 'castells'. Participants will show a banner reading "Catalans want to vote. Human towers for democracy". In addition, public figures such as historian Paul Preston, musician Jordi Savall, actor Sergi López and playwright Helder Costa will participate in the action. This large-scale performance has been organised by the civil-society organisation Òmnium Cultural and is exclusively funded with private money. In total, 5,000 'castell' builders, called 'castellers', will participate in the action, split into 71 groups. In fact, 85% of all the existing 'casteller' groups in Catalonia will participate in the demonstration. Those travelling to the European cities are among the best 'casteller' associations. This Catalan tradition was declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2010.


"Catalans want to vote. Human towers for democracy". This is the banner that will be displayed in the 8 'castell' performances organised in Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona, as well as in 41 additional Catalan towns. 71 'casteller' associations will participate in this performance that will take place simultaneously throughout Europe. In the last few weeks, the cities of Pamplona, Montréal and Santiago de Chile have also joined the action. The actions are organised in both public spaces and private ones with free entrance. Òmnium Cultural expects that both local citizens and Catalans living abroad will attend the performances.

At 11.30, preparation starts and at 12.00, the tower starts to be built

The 'castellers' will make their entrance at 11.30 and they will start to prepare themselves for building the tower. The preparation involves putting on a long fabric wrap to protect the back from the heavy weight, as the tower is raised while 'castellers' stand on the shoulders of each other. They normally take place during local festivals in Catalan towns and cities and tend to involve between 6 and 10 levels of people, literally standing on top of each other and reaching the size of a 3-, 4- or 5- storey building. Depending on the tower's shape and complexity, there are between 1 and 9 people per layer, although at ground level a wide base is formed, and in some constructions secondary and smaller bases are also formed on the first two levels.

In fact, after the process of putting on their protective wraps, 'castellers' will start to organise the human base on which the tower will stand. Organising the base is one of the most difficult techniques, since they have to be perfectly built in order to evenly split the weight and to secure that people forming the tower and the base are not injured if the construction collapses.

Then, at 12 o'clock, in the 8 cities and 41 additional Catalan towns, the human towers will start to be built, while a folk tune is played by a traditional Catalan double-reed sort of oboe called 'gralla'. At this point, the banner "Catalans want to vote. Human towers for democracy" will be displayed in the corresponding official language of the cities where the action takes place. In addition, a manifesto will be read by famous personalities.

Paul Preston, Jordi Savall, Sergi López and other personalities support the action

The prestigious British expert on Spain's contemporary history Paul Preston will be in London. The Catalan musician Jordi Savall, who is considered the world' main expert in Early and Renaissance music, will read the manifesto in Paris. The Catalan actor Sergi López, who has been cast in manifold French-speaking films, will support the human tower built in Brussels. The Portuguese playwright Helder Costa will be in Lisbon. The Swiss actor Joan Mompart will be supporting the action in Geneva. The President of Òmnium Cultural, Muriel Casals, will be the person reading the manifesto in Barcelona.

The human towers will be built in iconic spots of the European cities by some of the best 'casteller' groups. The Xics de Granollers will perform in Berlin's Alexanderplatz. The Castellers de Vilafranca will build their tower in Brussels' Grande Place. The Xiquets de Reus will display their construction in Geneva's Place des Nations. The Castellers de Sants will perform in front of Lisbon's Torre de Bélem. The Colla Jove dels Xiquets de Valls will create their 'castell' in front of London's Tower Bridge. The Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls will stand in Paris' Champ de Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower. The Bordegassos de Vilanova will build their tower in Rome's Gianicolo. Finally, the Castellers de la Sagrada Família will be in front of Gaudí's famous church in the Catalan capital city, while the Castellers de Barcelona, the Minyons de Terrassa and the Castellers de Sabadell will perform in Sant Jaume Square. Furthermore, 55 other groups will perform in 41 additional Catalan towns.

The action is entirely privately-funded. €130,000 was donated directly, or through the Verkami crowd-funding platform. In addition, Òmnium Cultural subsidises part of the action with its own funds – which all come from members and private donations. In addition, each participant has paid with his or her own money part of the trip and allocation costs.

SHARE

  • Representatives of the different 'castellers' groups presenting the action's banners (by L. Roma)

  • Representatives of the different 'castellers' groups presenting the action's banners (by L. Roma)