Berga’s Patum festival goes political in 2018

Catalan MonitorAra, News Roundup

Photo: The crowds turned out in yellow, with banners saying “We want you home” (Credit: ACN)

By Clàudia Dinarés

From 31st May, 2018

Long applause and shouts of “freedom” filled the Plaça Sant Pere de Berga in the run up to the first “Patum Completa” performance of the Patum festival, in Berga this year. Some twenty relatives of the political prisoners and hose in exile appeared on the council balcony. At half past ten at night, the musicians marked the opening of the festival with ‘Els Segadors’ [Catalan national anthem], to which the audience sang along, while waving yellow banners reading “We want you home” and “We are with you”. The protest tone of this year’s edition of the festival filled the square, which had been decorated for the occasion with yellow ribbons, Catalan flags and images of the political prisoners and exiles.

This has led to the fact that, to date, this Patum has been the most well-attended in history. For the first time, the City Council of Berga has opened the council balcony to the public and assigned 128 different access points and 48 “plens” [public dance sessions, where the crowd essentially jumps in unison]. A plan for the prevention and detection of sexist violence has also been activated, with trained members of the Patum organistion reporting regarding sexist behavior or attitudes during the Patum.

The “Turks and the Cavaliers” performers were the first to enter Plaça Sant Pere. They have followed by the Maces & Angels (competitive dance troupes) and the “Guites” (dragon-like animals). The entrance of the Eagles has become one of the most celebrated moments and this time sparked the first jumps in the square raised the first jumps in the square. They were followed by the old dwarves, the giants, and the new dwarves.

Minutes before the sparks flew and the whole of Berga seemed to be jumping, Pol Leiva, nephew of Jordi Cuixart and spokesman of the Catalan Association for Civil Rights, spoke of the controversy that had occurred, due to the presence of yellow ribbons and Catalan flagsin the Plaça de Sant Pere. Cuixart’s newphew asserted that “he who gets upset does so because he has not understood that this is no longer a political or territorial project, but rather one of civil and human rights, which are being systematically violated.” On the motion of no-confidence [in Spanish President Mariano Rajoy] that was being debated today in the Congress of Deputies, Leiva celebrated any option which “could be translated into measures which reduce tension.”

Along the same lines, the spokesman for Together for Catalonia, Eduard Pujol, said that the censure motion “is a jolt of an important board.” “Send home the great repressor Rajoy and the civil governor Millo, the gentleman who applauded the 1-O, does not have to make us euphoric, but being realistic must allow us to move some piece,” he emphasized. In this regard, the spokesman for Together for Catalonia (JxCat) Party spoke and alluded to what he called four clear things upon which to focus: Catalonia, dignity, freedom and democracy. “If we continue focusing on these things, political prisoners and exiles will be able to go to sleep a little calmer than they did yesterday,” he concluded.

Letter from Jordi Sànchez

Before the crowd-wide jumping took hold, a letter from Jordi Sànchez addressed to the “Patumaires” [participants in the Patum] was read aloud: “This year I will participate in Patum from prison, I will not be able to participate because Llarena did not want it. I can assure you that I will be with you in spirit I will accompany you from cell 110 of module 8 of Soto del Real. I will relive the last full jump of 2017, in which I participated, which was the most emotional and intense moment of all the celebrations. Enjoy a great Patum.” When the letter was finished, applause filled Sant Pere de Berga square.

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