The crowds shouted ‘No tinc por’ (I am not afraid) and slogans against arms deals and maintaining relations with antidemocratic countries and those with links to jihadism
Thousands of demonstrators took to the Passeig de Gracia steet in Barcelona under the slogan ‘No tinc por’ (I am not afraid), condemning the recent terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils. Notwithstanding the massive presence of Spanish authorities and King Felipe VI of Spain, the place of honour was taken by the citizenship and the emergency services and the Mossos and Guàrdia Urbana (Catalan and Barcelona police), greatly applauded by the crowd, who led the demonstration. There were also boos for both the Spanish government and Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, and the King, Felipe VI, who was the subject of many banners, which accused him of dealing in weapons and maintaining relations with regimes who support jihadist groups.
“Your policies, our dead”
Indeed, the front line of the demonstration was made up of seventy-five members of the Mossos d’Esquadra, the Guàrdia Urbana, local police from Cambrils, Alcanar and Ripoll, Spanish police, the Guardia Civil, Protecció Civil (emergency services) and the Fire Services, Emergency Medical Services and hospital workers from the eight hospitals who took care of the victims of the attacks. There were also taxi drivers, members of the Red Cross, forensic professionals, cleaning services and personnel from the services and companies who helped on the day of the attacks.
The seventy five members of the head of the demonstration were greeted at the Town Hall, by the President of the Generalitat (Catalan Government), Carles Puigdemont, the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, and the representative of the Spanish Government in Catalonia, Enric Millo, prior to the demonstration.
The political and institutional representatives, President Puigdemont, the Spanish king, Felipe VI, and Spanish president, Mariano Rajoy, Mayor Ada Colau and members of the Catalan and Spanish government, marched behind this front line.
‘El Cant dels ocells’ and the tribute to the Mossos
Just short of one hour after the demonstration began, the head had arrived at Plaça de Catalunya square which filled up to hear the closing speeches, made by the activist Míriam Hatibi of the Ibn Batuta association and Catalan actress, Rosa Maria Sardà. Sardà and Hatibi read texts chosen with the help of Lluís Pasqual, director of Teatre Lliure. Sardà read La Rambla de les Floristes,(The Rambla of the Florists), by Josep Maria de Sagarra, and Hatibi, who has been extremely vocal on harmonious cohabitation, was charged with speaking on behalf of the citizens of the city in this event against the barbaric practices of terrorism, which has also become a protest against the sale of weapons and against wars.
Sardà and Hatibi shared the speeches, underpinning the message ‘No tenim por’, and spoke of solidarity, condolences for the victims and of the attempts to destroy the model of cohabitation of our society. “When we are attacked, we are more united than ever, with our diversity of cultures and creeds,” said Hatibi. There were also calls against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism ‘and any other form of racism’. After mentioning that ‘those who defend peace are counted by the millions’, Sardà and Hatibi wnet on to perform the poems by Federico García Lorca and Josep Maria de Sagarra.
The event was closed with ‘El cant dels ocells’ –a traditional Catalan Christmas song which Pau Casals made into a symbol of peace and freedom– played by Peter Thiemann, violoncellist of the Orquestra Simfònica del Gran Teatre del Liceu, and student Guillem Gràcia, before a silent crowd on Plaça de Catalonia, while images of the reactions of the citizens in Barcelona on the days following the attack were projected.
An interpreter in sign language, who translated all the speeches, shared the stage, which had been decorated by the Florists’ Association of Catalonia. The backdrop was the word “Barcelona” in red where the letter “l” took the shape of a black ribbon of mourning, designed by Frederic Amat, and the slogan ‘No tinc por’ in several languages.
After the closing of the event, king Felipe VI was again booed and the Mossos d’Esquadra were again applauded and their vehicles covered in flowers.