Today, October 3rd, marks three years since Spanish king Felipe VI gave the speech which precipitated the final schism between the monarchy and the Catalan independence movement.
In a televised message, just two days after the 1st October 2017 referendum, the king gave his endorsement to the police violence that was inflicted that day: "It is the responsibility of the legitimate powers of the state to ensure the constitutional order and the normal functioning of the institutions, the validity of the rule of law and the self-government of Catalonia". Catalans heard the message, or heard about it, at the end of the unprecedented national standstill of October 3rd, when many thousands filled the streets in a massive, peaceful response of solidarity and determination against the state repression from which they were still reeling.
The king of the "far right"
The reign of the new Bourbon monarch Felipe VI, which had begun in 2014 after the abdication of his father Juan Carlos I, had not faced such a significant moment until then. The now-exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has commented on the head of state's reaction that day: "I didn't think that the king was so unintelligent as to get involved in politics, and on the far right. On October 3rd he put himself at the apex of a coup d'etat perpetrated by judges and police. Felipe VI decided to abdicate live on TV and since then Catalonia has no longer had a king".
No pensava que el Rei fos tan poc intel·ligent com per ficar-se a fer política, i d’ultradreta. El #3oct es va posar al cap d’un cop d’Estat perpetrat per jutges i policies. Felip VI va decidir abdicar en directe i des d’aleshores Catalunya ja no té Rei https://t.co/bsoJspe9G5 pic.twitter.com/loKdMgWzpw— Carles Puigdemont (@KRLS) October 3, 2020
The Catalan president just disqualified from office by the Supreme Court, Quim Torra, called on the people to return to the spirit of that day: "On October 3rd everything was possible. The people showed their determination to win the democracy expressed in full, two days before, in the face of violence and threats. We have to return to that. Let's abandon internal disputes and make it possible."
El 3 d'octubre tot era possible. La ciutadania havia pres la determinació de fer guanyar la democràcia expressada en plenitud dos dies abans contra la violència i l'amenaça. Hi hem de tornar. Abandonem disputes internes i fem-ho possible. pic.twitter.com/YRFtELCH7a— Quim Torra i Pla (@QuimTorraiPla) October 3, 2020
Imprisoned ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, Catalan vice-president in 2017, has called for the independence movement to increase its support further: "We must once again appeal to the large majorities that made possible the day of October 3rd. The social majorities that we need to have continuously. A permanent October 3rd".
Hem de tornar a apel·lar a les grans majories que van fer possible el 3 d’octubre. Les majories socials que necessitem i de forma continuada. Un 3 d’octubre permanent.— Oriol Junqueras 🎗️ (@junqueras) October 3, 2020
Campaign to "erase the monarchy" from public spaces
With slogans such as "Let's rub it off the map" or "Because of corruption", the Òmnium Cultural group has today launched a campaign for the removal of street elements or names that refer to the Spanish monarchy or recall its presence.
Òmnium considers that "the Spanish monarchy is a fraud to democracy." In a video of just over a minute, the pro-independence cultural society has presented the initiative - using Felipe VI's 2017 in the background while the visuals show a king who, little by little, is literally erased. Òmnium calls for the people of the Catalan-speaking lands to build a country "free of injustice, violence and impunity and a crown that conceals all that."
La monarquia espanyola és un frau a la democràcia. Per això, avui #3Oct, des d'@omnium iniciem una ofensiva per esborrar la Corona dels Països Catalans. Construïm un mapa de la presència dels Borbons i eliminem-los dels nostres carrers!— Òmnium Cultural (@omnium) October 3, 2020
Col·labora-hi! 👉🏻 https://t.co/O7G5SpXumM pic.twitter.com/qccfZDoKGC