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Grassroots platform collects signatures for Catalonia’s independence

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the grassroots organisation that organised the two massive demonstrations for Catalonia’s independence in 2012 and 2013, is working on another initiative to allow Catalan citizens to hold a self-determination vote. This past weekend it installed 700 stands throughout Catalonia with 3,000 attorneys-in-fact to collect signatures for an independence referendum and, if this is deemed impossible, the unilateral declaration of independence, in accordance with international law. The ‘Sign a Vote for Independence’ initiative started last June and will continue during the upcoming months, but on Saturday and Sunday, a special push was given to boost the process. The ANC said the massive signature collecting had been “a success”. Figures will be provided next week although the campaign is still ongoing.

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13 January 2014 07:50 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the grassroots organisation that organised the two massive demonstrations for Catalonia’s independence in 2012 and 2013, is working on another initiative to allow Catalan citizens to hold a self-determination vote. This past weekend it installed 700 stands throughout Catalonia with 3,000 attorneys-in-fact to collect signatures for an independence referendum and, if this is deemed impossible, the unilateral declaration of independence in accordance with international law. The ‘Sign a Vote for Independence’ initiative started last June and will continue during the upcoming months, but on Saturday and Sunday, a special push was given to speed up the process. The ANC said on Sunday evening that the massive signature collection had been “a success”. Figures will be provided next week although the campaign is still ongoing. However, according to the organisers, “expectations have been surpassed”, since some stands ran out of templates and more were needed to be urgently sent.


This past weekend, the ANC deployed more than 700 stands throughout the Catalan territory, run by 3,000 attorneys-in-fact, in order to collect signatures supporting two things: firstly, Catalonia’s right to hold a self-determination referendum and, secondly, if this vote was not allowed, the unilateral declaration of independence, in accordance with democratic procedures and international law. The campaign is called ‘Signa un Vot per la Independència’ (Sign a Vote for Independence); it started last June and will continue to run for a few more months. However, the ANC wanted to boost the campaign and decided to increase the efforts during this past weekend. Citizens had to sign and give their full name, ID number and official address. The grassroots platform stated it had been “a success”.

The ANC is the civil society organisation responsible for the 1.5 million-strong demonstration for Catalonia’s independence from Spain that took place on the 11th of September 2012. A year later, on the 11th of September 2013, it also organised the 400-kilometre-long human chain formed by over 1.6 million people and called the Catalan Way towards Independence, which was inspired by the Baltic Way of 1989.

Citizens have been involved in the stands during the entire weekend, especially during the entire Saturday and on Sunday afternoon. People from all ages and socio-economic backgrounds were highly interested in the initiative and signed to show their explicit support. However, a few were also visibly uncomfortable by the stands but no violent incidents were reported. “We are doing very well; we are happy with the people’s response although [the campaign] had not been very much advertised”, said one of the ANC members and attorneys-in-fact from Barcelona’s Sants neighbourhood. Furthermore, he explained that in the coming weeks they will be setting one stand in different spots of the quarter to continue collecting signatures.

A ‘B Plan’ if the self-determination vote is not allowed

The massive collection of signatures supporting Catalonia’s right to self-determination and independence is one of the 5 main projects of the ANC for the coming months. According to the coordinator of the ‘Sign a Vote for Independence’ campaign, Rosa Alentorn, the initiative is also “a B Plan in the event the consultation vote cannot take place”. “This campaign is based on a legal right, the right to petition, which is recognised by the Spanish Constitution” and it is done under the format of “a formal request”.

“Each formal request to be counted as if they were a vote cast for independence”

The document asks politicians “to do whatever they can, to fully explore all the ways to organise the [self-determination] consultation vote” until the very last possibility, explained Alentorn. However, “if [the vote] is not possible” at the end, the organisers ask for “each formal request to be counted as if they were a vote cast for independence”.

The signature collecting started in June, firstly as a pilot test, carried out “in a small scale”, in order to be sure about the procedures to follow, ensure the process’ validity,  and “to create a network of registered and trained people who could validate the data of the people who had signed” and act as attorneys-in-fact. Currently, there are more than 3,000 people involved in this respect.

Another massive signature collecting in spring

The initiative will continue in the coming months, particularly during weekends. It will also be developed abroad, in order to reach Catalan communities living in other countries. In addition, the ANC foresees carrying out “a second massive signature collecting in spring”. The campaign aims to be “a support for politicians in order to take decisions”, stated Alentorn.

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  • One of the signature collecting stands in Barcelona's Sants neighbourhood (by J. Bataller)

  • One of the signature collecting stands in Barcelona's Sants neighbourhood (by J. Bataller)

  • One of the signature collecting stands in Barcelona's Sants neighbourhood (by J. Bataller)

  • One of the signature collecting stands in Barcelona's Sants neighbourhood (by J. Bataller)
  • One of the signature collecting stands in Barcelona's Sants neighbourhood (by J. Bataller)
  • One of the signature collecting stands in Barcelona's Sants neighbourhood (by J. Bataller)