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The educational community took to the streets this Wednesday to make it clear that in Catalonia there is no intention to apply the court ruling imposing a 25% quota of school classes taught in Spanish for all students. A total of 7,500 people, according to Barcelona city police, marched through downtown Barcelona to the doors of the High Court of Catalonia, whose judicial interference in the educational system has outraged Catalan society, effectively vandalising the four-decade-old language immersion model and representing a new blow against the already-minoritized Catalan language. The demonstration took place in the middle of a day of strike, although, according to the Catalan education department, only 6.5% of public schoolteachers did not go to work.

Manifestación maestros profesores contra 25% castellano, barcelona - Sergi Alcàzar

The low adherence to the strike may be related to the fact that today falls in the middle of a three week period containing five further days of strike (with the first three observed last week). Several protesters told this Wednesday that the unions have not organized the industrial action well and that it was a mistake to mix the strike for the 25% Spanish quota with the other mobilizations, in protest against the change in the school calendar and the failure to revert funding cuts from a decade ago. And in addition, the fact that some teachers went on strike on March 8th on International Women's Day, means that some have had a busy month of stoppages this March.



The demonstration

However, neither the high number of strike days nor the fact that this Wednesday was a rainy morning prevented today's demonstration from being a success. Thousands of people gathered in the Catalan capital's Plaça Urquinaona ―a scene of intense street actions for the independence movement in the not too distant past― to then march to the High Court of Catalonia, walking the length of Via Laietana, before turning towards the Parc de la Ciutadella and arriving at the court, in Passeig Lluís Companys.



The demonstration coincided with another protest that took place in Barcelona this morning. On Passeig de Picasso, teachers and students came across taxi drivers, who sounded their horns in show their solidarity. The car horns sounded to the rhythm of the well-known pro-independence chant Els carrers seran sempre nostres - "the streets will always be ours".



Message from the ministry

Another of the most-favoured chants this Wednesday was already in the top five from last week: "Cambray, resign", when the Catalan education minister was especially targetted over his handling of the school calendar change. Today, the multiple teachers' unions taking part in the mobilization called on the minister not to obey the 25% Spanish ruling, and to make it clear that Catalonia has its own sovereignty and therefore can decide for itself how the Catalan school model should work. In fact, there has been criticism from the USTEC and Intersindical unions about the government's management of this issue, and they have called for the Catalan education ministy not to commit to a language model based on user competences, but to ensure that Catalan remains as the only vehicular language in classrooms.