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Plans for national day events to focus on ‘freedom’

Authorities unveil official poster for September 11 while ANC head promises a Diada of ‘smiles’ in run-up to October 1 referendum  

 

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31 August 2017 05:38 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Freedom and democracy have been chosen as the key concepts behind the institutional events organized for this year’s national day celebrations on September 11. With only a month until the independence referendum planned for October 1, on Thursday the Catalan authorities unveiled the official poster for September 11, Catalonia’s national day, and in recent years a date in which hundreds of thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets to demand the right to self-determination.

Presented by the Minister of the Presidency Jordi Turull, the 2017 poster is a simple design featuring the yellow and red of the Catalan flag alongside the word ‘llibertat’ (freedom). The main institutional event of the Catalan government and Parliament will take place on September 10, in the Mercat del Born, and will pay tribute to historical figures who defended the concepts of freedom and democracy, from Rosa Parks to Anna Politkovskaya.

  • The Catalan government and Parliament will pay tribute to historical figures who defended freedom and democracy, such as Rosa Parks and Anna Politkovskaya

Given how soon this year’s national day comes after the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the event will be preceded by a ceremony honoring the security and emergency services. At 7pm the Catalan Parliament’s Gold Medal of Honor will be awarded to the Mossos d’Esquadra Catalan police, the local police forces of Barcelona and Cambrils, as well as the range of emergency staff, so highly-praised for their handling of the attacks.

‘Historic’ demonstration

Yet, the main event in Catalonia’s national day celebrations will be the mass demonstration planned for September 11 in Barcelona. While the government spokesman on Thursday said that the executive had still not decided what role it will play in the event prepared by pro-independence organizations, the president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sànchez, called on the public to sign up. Promising another “historic” demonstration, Sànchez said that more than 200,000 people had already registered and more than 1,400 coaches had been reserved to transport people to the Catalan capital.

Since 2012, when almost two million people turned out in Barcelona on September 11 to demand self-determination, Catalonia’s national day, or Diada as it is known locally, has become a key annual date for the sovereignty process. This year’s event has particular significance, as it marks the beginning of the campaign for the referendum that is the culmination of a process that “has set the political agenda of Catalonia and the State,” according to Sànchez. The ANC head also vowed that this year’s event would be the Diada of “smiles and satisfaction” and said he was convinced that the public will turn out in force for a historic national day in the lead up to the referendum on independence.  

The September 11 demonstration will reach its high point at the crossroads of the Passeig de Gràcia and Aragó avenues, where four 16-meter wide awnings will be unfurled to create a huge plus sign visible from the sky. At 5.45pm, a series of speeches will begin in Plaça de Catalunya, with 200 amplifiers ready to be deployed in strategic areas. Meanwhile, some 2,500 volunteers will be on hand to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

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  • Catalan government spokesperson Jordi Turull (by ACN)

  • Catalan government spokesperson Jordi Turull (by ACN)