A decade after the massive pro-independence demonstrations began on September 11, the movement continues to be able to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people to demand a Catalan state of its own, despite the wear and tear, disorientation, lack of strategy and division more and more pronounced that he suffers. It has been shown again this Sunday, when at least 150,000 people have demonstrated in the streets of Barcelona in the mobilization organized by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), with the support of Cultural Omnium and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI). In a call marked by the absence of the ERC, the ANC has complied with the planned script and its president, Dolors Feliu, has taken advantage of her speech to put pressure on the sovereignist parties: “Either you make independence or you call elections”.
“If the Parliament turns its back, there is enough support in the country to make a civic list and achieve independence”
If progress is not made towards a state of its own, the ANC’s recipe would be for the citizens to do it, by going to the elections in the Parliament through a “civic list”, as the president of the entity has been in charge of verbalizing directly. “If the Parliament turns its back, there is enough support in the country to make a civic list and achieve independence”, assured Feliu, to emphasize in a very harsh intervention with the parties that “if they don’t do it, we are determined to do it ourselves, using the votes and elections to achieve independence and with new actors if necessary”. The interventions of Òmnium and the AMI, on the other hand, have had a much less harsh tone than that of the ANC.
As always happens in mobilizations of this type, there has been the traditional dance of figures with the attendance. The Urban Guard has spoken of 150,000 people, while the own Dolors Feliu has raised the number to 700,000. In any case, it would be clearly above that of last year -still very marked by a pandemic summer-, when the oscillation moved between 108,000 of the Urban Guard and the 400,000 of the organization. In 2019, when the independence force in the street was already beginning to go down, the record of the Urban Guard had risen to 600,000 attendees.
“The Assembly will do what is necessary to get out of immobility”
The march this year took place from Avinguda del Paral·lel to Estació de França and, as is the tradition of recent years, it started at 5:14 p.m. During the approximately two hours that it has lasted – counting the length of the parliaments – there have been no remarkable incidents and if there is one element that has stood out, it is the large volume of banners and posters with messages critical of political parties. “Without politicians we would already be independent”, “52%… Why the hell did we vote for them?” or “traitors, we will not vote again” are just three examples.
Dolors Feliu, who was in charge of closing the act, assured that “this year this demonstration has been scary. Our conviction is scary, our firm will to achieve independence, the certainty that we will achieve it”, and has reserved the bulk of the political burden for the final fireworks, with a harsh warning message to the independence parties, which can be summarized as “either you make independence or we will do it”.
“Do not have any doubt that the ANC will do what is necessary to get out of this immobility”
“Do not have any doubt that the ANC will do what is necessary to get out of this immobility,” he assured after warning the independence parties about the option of presenting a civic list in future elections in Parliament. This moment has been greeted with some cries of “Government resignation!” by the attendees. “No more elections with proclamations and without an independence project”, Feliu insisted, for whom “if the current parties do not want to achieve independence, it is up to us to achieve it, that the institutions are blocked is not an option”. And he’s done claiming “independence or electionsor independence or giving the people a voice”.
Òmnium calls for “accomplices”
Previously, the president of Òmnium Cultural, Xavier Antich, spoke, who beyond encouraging the demonstrators -“nothing has finished here, we still do not have the Catalan republic. We do not know what it means to surrender” -, has defended that “allow fights to grow and continue as now is not an option. This is not about looking for culprits, but about getting accomplices for independence. To win we need all of us”. His speech, clearly inclusive, links with the one he had delivered hours before at the political act of Òmnium, during which he had called for the need to open a new “strategic framework” for independence .
Finally, the president of the AMI and mayor of Ametlla de Mar, Jordi Gasenihas claimed 1-O, but has also made a call to look forward: “We had it just around the corner. It was not possible. Now, there is no need to lament more or look for blame, but we have to work to look for a new opportunity from the unit, by working together with the entities”.
ERC recognizes the “weaknesses” of 1-O
Despite bringing together tens of thousands of people, nothing can hide that the pro-independence mobilization has lost strength compared to previous years, something that is explained by the fact that the movement sees the final objective much further now than in 2017 and that the growing divergence between the different actors have weakened it. In this sense, the most significant element of this Day of 2022 has been the absence of ERC from the afternoon demonstration, after arguing that “it went against the parties”.
The formation has only been represented by its youth, the Jovent Republicà and by the former president of the Parlament Carme Forcadell, since none of its members in the Government have attended -starting with the president, Pere Aragonès- or its leadership. Junts, on the other hand, has landed en masse and, in fact, all its ministers have attended. Your General Secretary, jordi turull, has sent a clear criticism of Esquerra, by making a call to demonstrate and “listen” to citizens even if they whistle. “If people are not satisfied, you have to listen to them, you don’t have to criticize them,” she commented.
Junqueras: “No one will silence us and we are not afraid of anyone”
ERC has chosen to hold its own event in Barcelona, which has brought together around 500 positions from the formation. In a very vehement intervention, its president, Oriol Junqueras, has proclaimed that “no one will silence us and we are not afraid of anyone”, to reiterate the commitment to the independence of the party, which in his opinion is the “best tool” to build sovereignty. Aragonés has intervened to claim that the independence movement has an “inclusive vocation”, while the general secretary, Marta Rovira, in a video from Switzerland has cited the “weaknesses” of 1-O, among which she highlighted the lack of “international complicity” , and that “nobody” recognized the referendum outside of Catalonia.