Organizers of the Catalan pro-independence event to be held this Saturday in Perpinyà are expecting at least 70,000 people to attend. This was the estimation given by the Catalan exile body Council for the Republic and the French prefecture for the Eastern Pyrenees as the event was presented this Wednesday.
The event, says the organization, will be a celebration of "the victory of immunity" for the three Catalan exiled MEPs who will be attending: Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, but it will also serve to denounce the fact that a fourth elected Catalan MEP, Oriol Junqueras, still continues "under the boot of Spanish injustice".
Saturday's event at the Parc de les Exposicions in Perpinyà, will begin with musical performances at 10:15am, followed by a castellers exhibition at 11:30. The main, political event starts at 12 noon. It will include speeches on video screens from the Catalan political prisoners, as well as a link to Marta Rovira, Catalan politician in exile in Switzerland. Then, the speeches of exiled president Carles Puigdemont and ministers Clara Ponsatí and Toni Comín - the first time any of them have returned to Catalonian territory since the end of October 2017. "All the voices of Catalan exile and those suffering repression will be represented" said Toni Castellà, of the Council for the Republic, at a press conference.
The event will end with the performances of Southern Catalan artists Lluís Llach and Roger Mas, and the Northern Catalan Gerard Jacquet.
Attendance of at least 70,000 people is expected, with 583 coaches and 525 motorhomes confirmed. The organizers stress that people should come prepared, should exercise patience and follow the instructions of the identified volunteer marshals, in order to minimise the likely queues that may occur when entering the precinct at the central Perpinyà location.
The Council for the Republic also announced the security measures it has agreed with the French prefecture, for the holding of the event, which include an entry control with a metal detector, due to the level of antiterrorist alert in the French state. There will be 36 entry points.
Objects not normally permitted in large demonstrations in France high concentrations will be banned on Saturday: wooden poles (banners may only use hollow plastic tubes, maximum 1.5 metres length), cans, glass, drones, suitcases and large bags (over 25 litres), motorcycle helmets and walkie-talkies. Also banned are: alcoholic beverages, portable refrigerators, flammable products, flares or pyrotechnic devices, lasers, tools, metal objects or sprays, and, of course, weapons.
Dissabte serà un dia magnífic, sense cap dubte!— Consell per la República Cat Nord (@ConsellNord) February 26, 2020
Però hem de ser tots molt curosos amb les consignes de seguretat.
Hi haurà control sistemàtic a l'entrada.
Fem-nos-ho fàcil! Anticipem, gràcies a aquesta llista d'objectes prohibits.
(Fixeu-vos amb els pals de bandera!) pic.twitter.com/KoYosqIRP3
"Saturday will be a magnificentday, without a doubt! But we must all take care with the security rules. There will be systematic control at the entrance. Let's make it easy! Lets's be preprared, with this list of prohibited objects (attention to the flagpoles!)— Consell per la República Cat Nord"
Carles Puigdemont will be in Perpinyà from Friday, when he has been invited to the rugby match between USAP Perpignan and Rouen.
"Friday will be a party for all Catalans at the Aimé Giral Stadium for the @usap_officiel vs @RouenNdieRugby 8pm!"— USAP