11th September is celebrated annually as the Diada, Catalonia's national day. And once again this year, pro-independence organisation ANC is organising a large-scale pro-independence demonstration, bringing together different sectors of the movement with the idea of strategic unity to achieve a common goal. The motto this time: Objectiu independència (Objective independence).
The ANC believes that filling the streets is the way to achieve symbiosis between a mobilised public, the Catalan government, and the pro-independence majority in the Catalan Parliament. That will be put into practice with its headline large-scale demonstration in Barcelona calling for unity of the independence movement.
The centre of the demonstration will be Barcelona's plaça d'Espanya, where streams of people will converge, a metaphor for people from different backgrounds coming together. The protest will extend along all the main streets leading away from the plaça: Creu Coberta, Tarragona, Gran Via, Paral·lel and Maria Cristina.
The key moment of the rally will be 5:14pm (17:14 by the 24-hour clock); Catalonia's national day commemorates the fall of Barcelona after a siege during the War of the Spanish Succession on 11th September 1714.
The ANC is being helped in the organisation of its eighth consecutive such demonstration by other pro-independence organisations like the AMI and Òmnium Cultural.
Different opinions, a common destination
This year's protest will call for strategic unity from the independence movement as an "indispensable condition" for achieving its objective. Elisenda Paluzie, president of the ANC, argues that the movement has to agree on a "common objective" whilst respecting its diversity, with no one having to renounce their ideology or origins.
Paluzie backs increasing the "demanding tone" towards pro-independence political parties so that they prioritise the objective of independence and abandon their internal fights. On the subject of this year's rally, she warned it will be the "most difficult" of all.
Paluzie says that the "most important" problem for the independence movement is the lack of unity between its political parties, a division she believes increases the "risk" of returning to supporting the current model of Catalonia as an autonomous community of Spain. The ANC warns they won't stop their large-scale demonstrations which they feel mark the agenda and keep the pressure on politicians. The president was firm that independence is their objective and a strategy is needed to achieve it.
First Diada without political VIPs
With the aim of putting unity ahead of personalities, the ANC has decided not to invite any political representatives to the space reserved for VIPs at this year's rally. The decision comes after weeks of examples of the strategical differences within the independence movement, as has been seen, for example, in certain post-election coalition pacts.
Tools to change the country
As well as the afternoon's demonstration, there will be a so-called Espai Eines de País (literally "Country Tools Space") on Barcelona's Pla de Palau and in the surrounding area.
This large space will be divided into two parts. One in the centre of the square will include various interactive points to raise awareness of the tools available to move towards independence and what actions can be taken individually or collectively. The second will be in the streets around the square, involving the practical application of the tools exhibited in the square.
There will also be an interactive quiz where members of the public can check the ratings of the companies they use. There will also be a variety of local firms recommended by pro-independence organisations advertising there.
Montserrat, lit up
ANC and Òmnium, along with the Federació d'Entitats Excursionistes de Catalunya and Artistes de la República have launched a project, called Llum i Llibertat ("Light and liberty"), to light a total of 131 high points on the emblematic Montserrat mountain range. The idea is to pay homage to Catalonia's 131 presidents.
10-S: escaladors/es i excursionistes d'arreu il·luminaran la muntanya de Montserrat. Vols participar-hi? Més info al teu centre excursionista. https://t.co/8HLU9xlgkO #llumillibertat #llill— llum i llibertat (@llumillibertat) July 4, 2019
.#10S19 #catalunya… https://t.co/LAyGlZiDwx
The event will take place overnight between the 10th and 11th September. A minimum of three climbers or hikers will head up to each mini-summit. At the agreed-upon time, they will each switch on their large lantern to light up the whole skyline.
This year's t-shirt
The ANC is, as normal, selling a t-shirt to collect money for the campaigns it will carry out over the next year. The 2019 t-shirt is turquoise blue, with a design that symbolises the call for unity to achieve independence. The idea of the design is to communicate "hope and future". Each t-shirt comes with a tote bag bearing the "objective independence" slogan.
From all Catalonia to Barcelona
Being the headline event, as normal the ANC hopes to attract supporters from all around Catalonia to Barcelona. As part of this, it's organising coaches to leave in the morning from different towns and cities, set to arrive in the city in early afternoon. Local branches are in charge of the details, and seats cost around 10€.
For those not travelling by car instead, the ANC asks that they coordinate with others to fill up their spaces, minimise the total number of vehicles heading to the city to not cause too many traffic problems.
The ANC encourages anyone thinking of attending to sign-up online in advance, to help with their planning. They have a form on their website that anyone interested can fill out; users will then receive an email within 24 hours to confirm their registration.