After the discrepancies that led the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, and the leadership of his party, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC), to pull out of the unitary demonstration on Catalan National Day, September 11th, the protagonists have learned their lesson. Indeed, the event that will take place this coming October 1st, with the intention of marking the fifth anniversary of Catalonia's 2017 referendum on independence from Spain, has as its main objective to affirm the "transversality of the country" and recall how on that occasion a "joint strategy" was achieved, between institutions, parties, civil society groups and the public. With the same disposition, this year's event wants to draw in "all the souls of the independence movement". This is demonstrated by the fact that, this time, all three parliamentary pro-independence parties - ERC, Junts and the CUP - will attend the event. As well, there is a special emphasis on inviting - and underlining the importance of - the role of the Catalan public.
This was confirmed at a press conference this afternoon by the representative of the Council of the Republic, Antoni Castellà, who explained that all three of the main parties will be there. In addition, all the extra-parliamentary political groups are also invited, and beyond that, others such as the Comuns, who are not pro-independence but accept Catalonia's sovereign right to choose its future. "All that is necessary is that people stand up for the referendum, whatever the result," he clarified. Along these lines, he wanted to emphasize the legitimacy of the 2017 vote. "It wasn't a demonstration or a 'happening', it was a referendum," Castellà stressed, distancing himself, however, from making references on what the mechanisms should be to implement the result of the 1-O - as the 1st October is referred to in Catalonia - or to make Catalonia's independence effective. Coincidentally, the differences between parties and entities over strategy are the main disruptive element, which is why they did not give prominence to this issue.
He himself celebrated that this event shows that it is possible to demonstrate that the different actors in the pro-independence movement "can reach agreement". Also speaking at the presentation this Thursday, the president of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), Jordi Gaseni, thanked all groups for their "generosity" to achieve "unity of action". The rally has been called by the exile body Council of the Republic, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural, the AMI, the Intersindical trade union and the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, and will take place at 5pm on Saturday, 1st October, at the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona.
Puigdemont and Forcadell, protagonists
Among the protagonists of the 1st October 2022 event will be the Catalan president in exile, Carles Puigdemont, and the former speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, who will both speak during the event. Both were key figures in the 2017 independence process and referendum. And in addition, a call is made to the full spectrum of Catalan groups and the entire broad public to take part in the rally. "From the community of residents in each apartment building, to the local castellers group to housing rights groups", explained the general secretary of the Intersindical union, Sergi Perelló. The essential idea is that the social fabric that made possible the 1-O should be the protagonist. In addition, the printing of high-definition posters for the event will be facilitated in order to be publicise and share the message.
The act has been designed with the intention of giving prominence to the people, because "without the people the referendum would not have been held", according to the vice-president of the ANC, Jordi Pesarrodona. The stage for the rally will be placed under the Arc de Triomf, and one new feature will be that the area open to the public in front of the stage will extend right along Passeig Lluís Companys to the front row in front of the stage - while, differently to other occasions, the space reserved for institutions, parties and organized civil society will be located on the lateral parts of the audience area, and the public will occupy the entire central space. The representative of Òmnium, Marina Gay, called for mass mobilization on October 1st. "We are calling people to once again meet in the streets."