"Per la independència, Via Fora!" - "For independence, everyone to the streets!". This is the title of the promotional spot that the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has released this Friday morning ahead of the annual independence movement rally for the Diada, the National Day of Catalonia on September 11th. In a statement, the pro-independence organization recalls that "after years of repression, pacts with the PSOE and a negotiation table that has failed and has whitewashed the Spanish state, the pro-independence movement must once again fill the streets of Barcelona to put independence back at the centre of the political debate". With that spirit in mind, the phrase at the core of the spot, which is the slogan for this year's march, is the medieval Catalan expression "Via Fora", a chant once used to rally the populace to defensive action in the face of a threat.
As it published the video, the ANC took the opportunity to address the pro-independence political parties, reminding them that they now have "the opportunity to block the Spanish parliament, and this makes the international media look this way again", referring to the need for the pro-independence votes that Pedro Sánchez has if he wants to lead the next Spanish government.
The video begins with images of empty streets to symbolize this attempt over the last few years to defeat and demobilize the movement, and at the same time makes a reference to the Covid pandemic, which also had a significant impact in taking activism away from the streets. The voice-over explains that "reaching an agreement with those who repress us and spy on us cannot be the way". And thus, it proceeds to this year's Diada march motto: "Via Fora!", a medieval rallying cry that called on people to take to the streets to defend their freedoms from an external or internal threat and was accompanied by the ringing of bells. The clip shows how people of all ages take to the streets until the public space is packed with flags and the blue T-shirts which the ANC has produced for Diada 2023.
The shirt, as the pro-independence organization explains, includes colours similar to the blue and gold of the European flag, asserting the will of Catalonia to become a new member state of the Union while denouncing the Spanish state at the time when it holds the rotating presidency of the European Council. The motto "Via Fora!" is accompanied by a graphic image featuring a yellow star and four bars that turn into the profiles of four faces, in a design inspired by posters early 20th century posters which seeks to evoke struggle, hope and unity.
The September 11th demonstration
On every Diada since 2012 - with the exception of the years disrupted by Covid - the Catalan independence movement has called on its supporters to come to the streets in a show of strength, with hundreds of thousands of Catalans taking part. This year, the demonstration consists of four columns of demonstrators who will converge on what they renamed Plaça del Primer d'Octubre (formerly Barcelona's Plaça d'Espanya), leaving from four different symbolic points in the Catalan capital: the Ciutat de Justicia court complex, the Escola Proa which pioneered teaching in Catalan, the Plaça dels Països Catalans (that is, the plaça of the Catalan-speaking lands) and the office of the Spanish Treasury. Last year's Diada demonstration "moved things" and this year's must follow the same lines, as ANC president Dolors Feliu told the Catalan News Agency, asserting that the movement must take advantage of the context of investiture negotiations to put pressure on the two main pro-independence parties involved in that process, ERC and Junts. The ANC president recalled how "last year we caused the fall of a pro-independence government without an independence project" and argued that "this time, as well" pressure must be exerted .