Girona changes name of square from ‘Constitution’ to ‘October 1’
The Spanish Magna Carta “has lost all legitimacy,” claims mayor
The latest developments in Catalan politics have involved prison, politicians moving to Brussels, direct rule of the country, a snap election imposed by Madrid and a very atypical political climate in the country. Yet, one of the unexpected side effects involves the naming of squares. On Monday evening, the Girona council decided to change the name of the Plaça de la Constitució (or Spanish Constitution square) to Plaça de l’U d’Octubre (or October 1 square), in order to commemorate the referendum that took place in Catalonia on that day in 2017 and the violence carried out by the Spanish police.
Out of the 25 local councilors in Girona, in northern Catalonia, 18 voted in favor of the initiative, including the mayor, Marta Madrenas. “The Constitution is not democracy, it has lost all legitimacy,” she said during the local plenary session. Madrenas claimed that because of the Spanish Magna Carta, there are “people in exile, victims of reprisal and Article 155 has been applied,” in reference to the provision in the Constitution enabling the suspension of the self-rule of Spain’s territories.
"The Constitution is not democracy, it has lost all legitimacy"
Marta Madrenas · Girona mayor
For and against
A spokesman for the ruling CiU party said that the initiative aims to “pay tribute to the people of Girona who protected the ballot boxes and ballot papers” from the Spanish police. A CUP party spokesman said that “the Constitution means the imprisonment of peoples,” while the unionist parties flatly reject the change. According to the People’s Party, the Magna Carta means “freedom, security and equality,” while for Ciutadans, the initiative “divides” the people of Girona. “You want to eliminate the current legal framework as if you were changing the name of a square,” commented a party representative.
Girona is not the only town in the country integrating October 1 in its list of place-names. Tortosa, in southern Catalonia, changed the name of Plaça Joaquim Bau (a square dedicated to a Franco regime local official) to Plaça 1 d’Octubre in January. Also last month, Palau d’Anglesola, a village in the country’s west inland, changed the name of Plaça d’Espanya (Square of Spain) to Plaça de l’1 d’Octubre, as well. An initiative in Barcelona with similar intentions was rejected in December. “The criteria is to let time pass and to make a well-thought decision," said the head of historical memory policy in the Catalan capital.