Catalan protest platform Picnic for the Republic blocked one of the France-Spain border crossings on Saturday, the "day of reflection" before the Spanish general election, in one of more than three hundred protest actions and festive events organized in response to pro-independence platform Democratic Tsunami's call for mobilizations prior to the Spanish vote.
In this border protest action, about 150 people blocked the NII highway at El Pertús. The action began at 11am and continued for two hours. Following the indications of Picnic for the Republic, the demonstrators parked their vehicles before crossing the border on foot, and cutting traffic on the northern side of the frontier.
A large banner displayed by protesters recalled the 1st October 2017 referendum: "Neither forget nor forgive". The group also chanted for "dignity", "independence" and "freedom".
During the protest, demonstrators intermittently blocked the NII, a busy road on weekends especially for drivers who crossing in the direction of Figueres. They also gave out pamphlets to drivers explaining the reasons for the protest.
Many of those who took part were from Northern Catalonia, the Catalan-speaking area which is part of the French state, and were in particular protesting against the 360th anniversary of the Treaty of the Pyrenees which ceded this area of Catalonia to France. Others arrived at the protest summoned by the Picnic for the Republic call, which invited supporters to share a pre-lunch "aperitif" in "fellowship" with their fellow Catalans in the north.
El Pertús is a symbolic point in relation to this action, since it was where the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed. On November 7th, 1659, the Spanish and French monarchies reached a peace agreement, ending the Thirty Years' War, which amputated the former county of Roussillon and much of that of Cerdanya from Catalonia.
Once the highway blockage was lifted, the Perpinyà Catalan Solidarity Committee, which gave its support to the Picnic for the Republic initiative, invited protesters to take part in the activities programmed for its Correllengua, a Catalan-language initiative, and the commemoration and denunciation of the Treaty of the Pyrenees.
Després us convidem a seguir les activitats programades pel correllengua i la commemoració/denúncia del tractat dels pirineus a Perpinyà a partir de les 16h#SomUnSolPoble #ObjectiuIndependència pic.twitter.com/f8fD8vZfKl— PicnicxRepública (@PicnicxRep) November 5, 2019
Meanwhile, dozens of Democratic Tsunami activities took place around Catalonia on the day before the Spanish general election, with the majority scheduled to start later in the afternoon.