Around fifty supporters of Catalan independence headed north of the French border this Saturday to join forces with the Gilets Jaunes in their motorway blockade at El Voló / Le Boulou, in Northern Catalonia. The Catalan yellow ribbons calling for release of the political prisoners thus mixed with the yellow vests of the current French protest movement, and the ambience of unity was completed by a rousing rendition of L'Estaca, the protest anthem by Catalan singer-songwriter Lluís Llach with a message calling for collective effort to reach a shared goal.
Péage Le Boulou les #giletsjaunes66 épaulés par les catalanistes pic.twitter.com/mRMaatwmsK— LIndep_Perpignan (@LIndep_perpi) 22 de desembre de 2018
Translation: "Tollgates at Le Boulou: the Gilets Jaunes of Eastern Pyrenees supported by the Catalans" — Indepe Perpignan
The Yellow Vests had called a protest action this Saturday morning near the border town of La Jonquera to stop the cross-border movement of trucks. To be specific, the protest was held at the El Voló tollgates, blocking the A-9 motorway a few kilometers north of the border.
The group from Southern Catalonia, consisting of about fifty demonstrators, appeared in the protest with large yellow ribbons and a banner reading Catalan Republic, in English, saying that their aim was to take the message of "the injustice of the political prisoners' situation beyond our borders." The Yellow Vests applauded and thanked them for their support.
Le Boulou #GiletsJaunes pic.twitter.com/6JMLT6fE2e— Stoppez Net (@MaastrichtRep) 22 de desembre de 2018
"Llibertat presos polítics", un dels lemes de la mobilització de les armilles grogues avui al Voló (Catalunya Nord). #giletsjaunes66 #LlibertatPresosPoliticsiExiliats pic.twitter.com/E8gq15wYC3— Júlia Taurinyà (@JuliaTaurinya) 22 de desembre de 2018
Translation: "Freedom political prisoners", one of the slogans of the mobilization of Yellow Vests today in El Voló (Northern Catalonia). #giletsjaunes66 #FreedomPolitical Prisoners and Exiles — Júlia Taurinyà
It was not the first time that Catalan has been a common language for protests straddling the border; and nor was it the first time that the anthem L'Estaca has been heard in the Gilets Jaunes protests in the French state. Lluís Llach's song, whose lyrics advocate making a unified effort to topple l'estaca -the metaphorical stake to which all oppressed people are tied- resounded in the streets of Paris on 12th December:
L’estaca chanson emblématique des indépendantistes, en version française, accompagne la révolte des gilets jaunes à Paris.— Foreign Friends of Catalonia🎗 (@Foreign_Cat) 12 de desembre de 2018
Merci à @lluis_llach pour cette belle chanson et merci aux #GiletsJaunesParis pour la faire résonner dans les rues de la capitale. pic.twitter.com/4VrtsmvwIG
Translation: 'L'estaca' emblematic independence movement song, in a French version, accompanies the revolt of the Gilets Jaunes in Paris. Thank you to @lluis_llach for this beautiful song and thank you to #GiletsJaunesParis for making it resound in the streets of the capital.