Thousands of Catalans yesterday rallied in front of dozens of town halls in protest against a halt to an independence vote that should be held on November 9th. The protest had been called by two main pro-indy civil society groups Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, and had been joined by all pro-sovereignty parties in the Parliament of Catalonia. Only in Barcelona, at least 5,000 protesters gathered in Plaça de Sant Jaume (Saint James’s Square):
NDTV | Thousands Rally Against Halt to Catalonia Referendum Waving Catalan independence flags of red and yellow stripes overlaid with a white star on a blue background, demonstrators crowded on Sant Jaume square in the northeastern city under umbrellas, yelling “We will vote”.
The Constitutional Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal by the Spanish government against Catalan leaders’ plan to hold a vote on independence on November 9.
The decision left protesters feeling bitter and defiant.
“They do not listen and they don’t try to understand why so many people are demanding to be able to vote,” said one demonstrator in Barcelona on Tuesday, Montserrat Benet, a 51-year-old English teacher. “No law can stop this.”
— Francesc Riverola (@Francesc_Forex) September 30, 2014
Not just Barcelona protesting either, towns big and small across Catalonia demanding right to a referendum pic.twitter.com/IeprhLOUee
— David Ferreira (@Igualitarista) September 30, 2014
— Thomas van Linge (@arabthomness) September 30, 2014
Anger against the Constitutional Court is widespread in Catalonia, not only because of Monday’s decision, but also because the court limited Catalonia’s powers in a 2010 ruling. According to polls, 80 to 90% of Catalans say the independence vote should be held and the result should be respected. A wide support from municipalities to the vote also exists:
VilaWeb | housands protest against Constitutional Court independence consultation suspension During the past week, more than 800 municipalities [out of a total of 947] hold full sessions in order to debate and pass a motion in support to the independence consultation in order ‘to freely decide the future of Catalonia’.
Despite the halt to the vote, both the Catalan government and the ANC say they are confident that it will be finally held on November 9th, as scheduled:
BBC News | Catalans rally for independence vote after setback The Catalan regional government said it would stop publicity [on the vote] but insisted it would try to overturn the suspension.
Francesc Homs, a Catalan government spokesman, said they were “determined” the vote would go ahead.
“Not rain nor snow nor any court will stop us,” Carme Forcadell, the [ANC] group’s leader, told reporters. “On November 9 we will vote and we will win.”