Read in Catalan

Thousands of students, some 50,000 according to organisers, 13,000 according to Barcelona's Urban Guard, took part in a demonstration in the streets of the Catalan capital this lunchtime to call for the Catalan republic. The rally was to mark the first anniversary of "1-O", the 1st October Catalan independence referendum.

Students from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the University of BarcelonaPompeu Fabra University, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and numerous high schools around Catalonia responded to the call from the Students Union and United for the Republic.


The demonstration started shortly after 12 noon. Before the march started, the spokespeople for the organising groups, Núria Nieto and Núria Marín, called on the powers-that-be in Catalonia to "agree on a joint strategy to advance towards the republic", an idea repeated in a manifesto read in plaça Sant Jaume, in front of the Catalan government palace.

The demonstration on Via Laietana / Video: R.L.

Bearing a banner reading "1-O, neither forgotten, nor forgiven" and "Let's construct the republic", the students proceeded through the city. They could be heard shouting slogans like "the streets will always be ours", "out, out, out, the Spanish flag" and the classic "i-inde-independence".

The march took place without incident, just one moment of tension when passing in front of the Spanish National Police headquarters on Via Laietana. There, they threw eggs at the building (protected behind plastic sheeting) and painted the slogan from their banner on the ground.

The demonstration passes a Spanish National Police building / Video: R.L.

When they arrived at plaça Sant Jaume, they read a manifesto recalling the police repression seen during last year's referendum, the Spanish government's subsequent intervention in Catalonia, the lack of investment in education and the persecution of teaching staff, accused of indoctrination. As it was being read, they again called on social actors to set out "a road map" to pressure the government "to move forwards towards to the republic".

They also highlighted that "only by fighting will we have an independent future". They called for the public to "recover the streets this autumn, an autumn they said will be "hot".

Students sing Els Segadors, the Catalan anthem / Video: R. L.

Torra's surprise

What the students didn't expect was what happened after the demonstration had already ended: Catalan president Quim Torra came out into the square to greet protesters.

Torra rep els estudiants / R.L

Quim Torra in plaça Sant Jaume / R.L.

Some applauded the president, others called for the resignation of interior minister Miquel Buch following the actions by Catalan police this Saturday.

The Catalan education ministry has published figures of the participation in today's strike by students aged 14-18 (years 3 and 4 of ESO and 1 and 2 of Batxillerat). In the city of Barcelona, two of every ten students took part in the strike, whilst in the county of Baix Llobregat, just to the south, more than half (54%) did so. Even higher participation levels were seen in Lleida, 60%, and Terres de L'Ebre, 82%. In Girona, 24% of students joined the strike.