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After the absence of the Catalan Government and Pere Aragonès in the pro-independence demonstration organized by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) on September 11th, 2022, this year one of the great unknowns of the Diada, Catalan National Day, is whether the president and members of his party will take part. And this Tuesday, the spokesperson for the government, Patrícia Plaja, confirmed that members of the executive will be in the streets of Barcelona in this demonstration, without clarifying, however, whether among them will be president Aragonès. "The government will be at all the demonstrations that take place on this very-important date if they are inclusive and stand up for rights," announced Plaja after the meeting of the Catalan cabinet, without giving further details. In 2022, the government led by the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) considered that it was a demonstration against the political parties and not against the Spanish state, which is why they refused to take part.

"With the Diada about to arrive, we need to talk about the unity of the independence movement, to take the opportunity of the negotiations for the Spanish investiture to make the voice of Catalonia heard and make progress in resolving the political conflict and achieve improvements in the economic areas", insisted Plaja, who refused to enter into any controversy, when asked about the fact that Dolors Feliu, president of the ANC, had invited Aragonès to the demonstration. According to the spokesperson, this change in the Catalan government's criteria with respect to the same event in 2022, corresponds to the context being radically different, and, last year, "the starting point of the demonstration" was not to make the voice of the people of Catalonia heard. "Let's look forward and not look back," concluded Plaja. On Monday, ERC had asserted that the party would be in all demonstrations that were "transversal and inclusive", without clarifying whether it considered that the massive pro-independence rally organized by the ANC every year since 2012 met these requirements.

Centred on Plaça Espanya, renamed Plaça 1 d'Octobre

The central event of this year's Diada march will take place at Plaça Espanya, but for the event it has been renamed as Plaça 1 d'Octubre, as announced this Tuesday midday by the president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Dolors Feliu, accompanied by the other major pro-independence organizations taking part. Four columns of independence supporters will converge there, which will leave from different points of the city and which will be named: Freedom, Language, Country and Sovereignty.

After the problems last year, with booing and open confrontation between pro-independence parties and civil society groups at events, Feliu has asserted that this year's call to march on September 11th is "more transversal than ever", focused on the civil pro-independence movement and not on the parties, and with strong symbolism. However, in the political position that was made public today, the ANC again denounces "the immobility of the pro-independence parties" and the lack of results from the dialogue table.

Above: The four columns of the Diada rally 2023 which will leave from different points and join together at "Plaça 1 d'Octubre".

The ANC has explained that it has re-baptized the plaça to imbue it with "what Catalonia is and wants to be" and not "those who dominate it with threats to liquidate its culture and its language". "The Diada of September 11th in the street must change the course of events, as it has done on other times", said Feliu, calling for massive for participation. Joaquim Forn, on behalf of Òmnium, called for public mobilization to shut up those voices that affirm that the independence process is over, while Teresa Vallverdú, on behalf of the Council for the Republic, warned that the Diada demonstration is the moment to show that the independence movement is there, despite "internal differences on how to handle fear and discouragement".