Anniversary of August 17th terror attacks: Remembering victims, and protesting against the King

Catalan MonitorArticles

Photo: Catalan attendees with signs reading “No to Islamaphobia”; “Felipe: He who seeks peace should traffic in weapons”, and “Felipe: We want peace, not arms deals” (Credit: L. Gómez)

By Alba Domingo
From August 17th, 2018

This Friday [August 17th], will mark a year since the Jhadist attacks in Barcelona and Cambris which ended the lives of 16 people and wounded more than a hundred. In memory of and solidarity with the victims of the attacks and their relatives, Catalonia will remember this tragic day with dozens of homages. The commemorations, however, will not be without controversy: the presence of King Felipe VI, the imprisonment of Minister Joaquim Forn and the ongoing judicial process against Catalan Police Major Trapero will mean the first anniversary is politicized.

Barcelona, ​​City of Peace

The main event of the day will be held in Barcelona and organized by the City Council with the collaboration of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the delegation of the State Government in Catalonia. Under the slogan ‘Barcelona, ​​Ciutat de Pau’, the Catalan capital wants to reaffirm its commitment to being a city of peace, which is welcoming and integrating.

At nine in the morning, the president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, will make an institutional statement to the Gothic Gallery of the Generalitat accompanied by the entire Government. Later, at 10 in the morning, the Catalan executive will go to the mosaic Joan Miró on La Rambla, in Pla de l’Os, with relatives of the victims to make a floral offering.

The president of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, the mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, the president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, the representatives of the Spanish monarchy, Felipe VI and Queen Leticia, and the leaders of the Partido Popular y Ciutadans, Pablo Casado and Albert Rivera will be the most important presences at the event, although everyone has called for the events to focus on the victims, and not to fall foul to politicization.

The official ceremony will start at 10:30 at Plaça Catalunya. It is to be an austere, simple and emotional event that aims to make the protagonists be the music, the victims, and the families of their victims, with no parliamentary officials speaking. Conducted by journalist Gemma Nierga, it will feature the musical performance of a group of more than 50 students from the Municipal Music Schools. The “Cant dels Ocells” [Song of the Birds] will be the opening song of the performance, which will be followed by a reading in the 7 languages ​​of those who died (Catalan, Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Italian, and German).

The event will also feature the institutional presence of the town councils of Cambrils and Ripoll, Alcanar and Subirats, representatives of Rubí, Sant Hipòlit de Voltregà, Vilafranca del Penedès and Zaragoza; municipalities where victims resided, and members of all the police, emergency services and the rest of public services who helped during the attacks.

The King, in the spotlight

The presence of Felipe VI in Barcelona will definitely garner attention. If last year the monarch already caused a reaction from demonstrators, this year, after his speech on October 3rd, 2017 [two days after the Catalan Referendum], the presence of the Bourbon monarch in the Catalan capital will be widely questioned.

Although the Catalan National Assembly has decided not to carry out any act against his presence, the Defense Committees of the Republic have called for a parallel march to pay homage to the victims of the attacks. The CDRs assert that “Catalonia does not have a King” and that, for this reason, the Catalan people should pay homage to the victims of the 17-A attack “with all those politicians and associations that are of the people and for the people”. Their event will be at 10:00 in the Portal de la Pau Square.

Photo: Letter of invitation by the CDRs to the parallel march

However, there are also marches convened in favor of the Spanish monarch. Unidad Monárquica is convening supporters at 10am at the Fountain of Canaletas under the slogan ‘Catalonia with its King’. This event will be attended by members of the VOX Unionist Group.

Poster for the Unidad Monárquica event

The tributes will also be transferred to the Lledoners penitentiary center, in Bages, where the counselor Joaquim Forn has been jailed, who coordinated and directed the security devices during the attacks. Neither the government nor the people want to forget his work, and therefore concentrations have been organized at the gates of the prison.

The president of the Generalitat, accompanied by members of the Government, will visit the counselor on Friday, at 6:00 p.m., to thank him for and acknowledge his work during the aftermath of the attacks, and condemn his imprisonment. At the same time, ACN and Òmnium Cultural have organized an event beginning at 6:30 p.m. in order to honor the victims, Joaquim Forn and Catalan Police Major Trapero. The wife of the counselor will speak, as well as Elisenda Paluzie, President of the Catalan National Assembly; Marcel Mauri, Vice President of Òmnium Cultural; and Josep Maria Cervera, president of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI).

Cambrils, forgotten

The acts of tribute to the victims of the 17-A will also be moved to Cambrils, scene of the second terrorist attack. In this case, the commemoration will take place on Saturday, August 18th, at 11:00 p.m. at the Paseo Marítimo. Although the attack left one person dead, seven wounded and resulted in the death of five terrorists, Cambrils denounced a lack of support from the administration around the commemorative activities. Unlike Barcelona, the event there will only feature the presence Quim Torra, several advisers and Minister Meritxell Batet.

At this event, the Memorial of Peace will be unveiled, which has now been installed on the promenade, and this act will be attended by various officials from the local authority, feature the interpretation of two musical pieces and an offering will be made by the authorities and the representatives of the different organizations that played an important role moments after that attack.

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