Impressive turnout for key demonstration before October 1 referendum
1 million people from all over Catalonia gathered today in Barcelona for the annual September 11 pro-independence protest, according to police figures.
The city’s streets began filling up early in the afternoon as the thousands of people registered to take part in the September 11 pro-independence demonstration, organised by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, prepared themselves for the big moment.
Shortly after midday, hundreds of buses began to arrive in Barcelona carrying an army of protesters armed with signs, Catalan flags, and wearing pro-independence T-shirts, all ready to take part in the the rally, which began at 5:15pm. According to figures provided by ANC and Òmnium, up to 1,800 buses from towns all over Catalonia made the journey to the capital.
More than an hour before the rally was set to begin, the city’s streets were already flooded in a sea of bright yellow, with people of all ages wearing the protest’s official fluorescent t-shirts coming together in a peaceful demonstration for freedom from Spanish governance.
After a one minute’s silence held in remembrance of the victims of the Barcelona and Cambrils terrorist attacks, the demonstration was officially underway. Spirits were high as the atmosphere changed from one of anticipation to eager excitement and optimism, with hopes high for a positive result in the coming referendum on October 1.
Four massive banners with messages for peace, independence and liberty, were passed along by the protesters in a show of unity against the Spanish state.
Children, parents, grandparents, and great granparents joined together in the shape of an enormous plus at the junction of two of the busiest streets in the center of Barcelona, representing a positive sign for democracy and freedom.
“Voting has never been a crime,” President of Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, addressed the crowd of thousands. “In spite of their fears and threats, we have our own laws based on international legislation. The Spanish courts no longer defend the collective interests of the Catalan people… They want to silence democracy.”
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and representative of the Tunisian Human Rights League, Ahmed Galai was also present. A key supporter of Catalan independence, he inspired crowds with his discourse stating that “referendum is democracy.”
After key speeches made by organisers and pro-independence politicians, crowds began to disperse at around 7pm.