The start of the school year in Catalonia this September, which was already predicted to be difficult due to the threat of strikes by teachers' unions, has just had its potential tension raised further: pro-Spanish nationalists have also decided to join in. The platform Escuela de Todos, which includes about fifteen organizations that demand the application of the 25% Spanish language quota in Catalan schools, has set a date for a rally that aims to fill the front pages. Specifically, it will take place on September 18th, a week after Catalonia's National Day, the Diada, and right at the start of the school year, in Barcelona. The demonstration will start at 12.30pm at the Arc de Triomf and march the short distance to the gates of the Parc de la Ciutadella, coincidentally in the same place where, at the end of last year, a massive protest was held against the court ruling imposing Spanish in Catalan schools. The Spanish unionists now aim to match the success of that mobilization.
To make that possible, there will be external help. The organizers are hiring coaches to bring people from different parts of Catalonia, and also from cities around the Spanish state. Thus, beyond the Catalan borders, Escuela de Todos is confident that it will be able to fill buses coming from Madrid, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Pamplona, Valencia, Alicante and Castellón. For now, the platform does not have definitive vehicle figures and asserts that it expects rather "anecdotal" support from these cities. On the other hand, the group is confident that from other parts of Catalonia, such as Tarragona, Lleida, Girona, Reus, Tortosa and Figueres, from where its coaches will also arrive, the influx will be considerable.
Thus, Escuela de Todos wants to fill the centre of Barcelona under the slogan 'Español, llengua vehicular' - "Spanish, vehicular language" - with the aim of defending that Spanish can also be used in education in Catalonia. The organization wants to denounce "the plots orchestrated by some political parties" and whose purpose is to avoid the 25% ruling made by the Catalan High Court, as well as "the connivance of the Spanish government with those who, for ideological reasons, exclude teaching in Spanish".
Stalls all across Spain
Escuela de Todos is not the only platform that will be taking part that same day. The organization Hablamos Español, which not only seeks 25% of classes in Spanish, but goes further and demands that it should be possible to study entirely in Spanish in Catalonia, will also be staging its own action, in addition to joining the Barcelona march. In several cities around the Spanish state, the association will be mounting street stands at which families can "claim their linguistic rights". This is planned in municipalities in the Spanish territories with a second official language as well as Spanish, such as Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, A Coruña and Vitoria - but also at others such as Madrid, Zaragoza and Seville where Spanish is the only official language. At Hablamos Español they claim that families in these municipalities could also be affected by the Catalan language immersion if they choose to live in Catalonia and their children have to study at school, hence the stalls. To avoid clashing with the Escuela de Todos demonstration, there won't be stalls erected in Barcelona.