Despite the commotion generated around the unitary march of the independence movement due to take place on this Sunday's 'Diada', the organizers in the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) are optimistic. In fact, despite the threat of demotivation due to the controversy, the organization is confident that attendance figures will be high, with the obvious goal of surpassing the figures achieved last year, when there were around 400,000 people present, according to the organization. To that end, as every year, the ANC has already made available to the public a fleet of coaches that will bring people from different parts of Catalonia to Barcelona to participate in the mobilization. Last Friday, it was announced that there were already close to a hundred vehicles booked up by those coming to Barcelona on Sunday. Five days later, that number has increased significantly.
As the Assembly reported this Wednesday, the figure from the end of last week has already grown by 50%. There are now more than 150 fully booked coaches that will make their way to the Catalan capital this coming Sunday. An amount that could grow further over the next few days. "The Assembly is confident that the number of coaches and attendees will continue to grow", the group announced in a statement, in which it also evaluated "very positively" the increase over recent days, given that they have been "especially intense". The ANC website offers all the information about the different coaches already booked up as well as those in which places remain. They will come from towns and cities all over the territory, from Girona to Lleida, Reus and even Perpinyà.
The ANC downplays the controversy
Beyond the nut and bolts of coach numbers and planning, the Assembly also wanted to respond to the threat that the attendance could be reduced in response to the disputes within the independence movement which have made headline in recent days. After the Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, confirmed that he would not be there, the remaining government ministers from ERC also adopted the same position, while coalition partner Junts set itself clearly apart by announcing that all of its members of the government will be present in Avinguda Paral·lel on Sunday. And as for the criticism made by ERC of the goal of the mobilization, the Assembly itself spoke out to justify that the rally is intended to "express the will to overcome autonomy and Spanish repression". "Thus it also demands that Catalan independence be made effective, and conveys a message to the world that the Catalan people continue to march towards their liberty", the statement continues.
This Wednesday, the president of the ANC, Dolors Feliu, defended the organization's position in an interview with radio station SER Catalunya, remarking that the mobilization only has "a critical tone", stressing that it is that very act of taking a critical stand is what "makes the country move forward as well as the independence process". In this way she sought to downplay the controversy in which Aragonès accused the organization of going "against the parties", affirming that the Diada demonstration does not intend to be "exclusive", but has "an inclusive tone" with the intention that the entire independence movement feels called to take part.