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Dilluns  08.09.2014  06:00

The Catalans' next challenge: a giant V for independence

A historic mobilisation is expected in Barcelona on the coming 11 September


In the battle between Catalonia and the Spanish government for the referendum on 9-N, one key day will be the coming 11 September, Catalonia’s National Day. Once more it will be a historic day because thousands of Catalans plan to be in Barcelona to take part in a large demonstration and show their will to become a new state. This will be the third consecutive mass concentration to call for the independence of Catalonia from the Spanish state. In 2012 one and a half million people filled the streets of Barcelona and in 2013, 1.6 million people came together in a human chain extending over 400 km from the north to the south of Catalonia.  These mobilisations changed the country and forced the political parties to change course.

The mobilisation in 2014 will place the participants on the Diagonal and Gran Via, two of the longest and widest avenues in Barcelona, which come together at the Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, therefore drawing an enormous human V to symbolise the words 'voluntat' (‘will’ in English), 'vote', and 'victory'.

The great mobilisation comes with our sights placed on the consultation on the independence of Catalonia, which the Catalan government plans to hold on 9 November. The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, the two institutions organising the V, hope to gather enough strength for the autumn, to keep the pressure on with the citizens’ mobilisation and to reach the consultation at boiling point. Both the president of the ANC, Carme Forcadell, and that of Òmnium Cultural, Muriel Casals, the institutions behind the campaign 'Ara és l'hora' (Now is the time), believe that the success of the 11-S will guarantee the 9-N, the day on which a consultation will be made that the Spanish government wants to prohibit.

To distribute the demonstrators along the route of the V, it has been divided into sections and the organisation asks people wanting to take part to sign up and choose the sections where they want to be.  For the moment, more than 470,000 people have already done so, a number that exceeds the final enrolments for the Via Catalana in 2013. In that case, the final number of participants, adding those not enrolled, tripled this figure and now the same thing is expected to happen. The rate of enrolments has increased in recent days and around 20,000 people are joining in every day.

The organisation believes that more people will still sign up and that the more than 11 km route forming the V will be filled. 'The people have answered very positively but there must be more to make this the largest mobilisation in the history of Europe’, said the president of the ANC, Carme Forcadell.

The preparations have been going on for weeks and a large number of rehearsals of the V have been made around Catalonia and in many capitals of the world, including Paris, London, Brussels, New York, Boston and Melbourne. One of the outstanding aspects of the V will be its audiovisual coverage. A live Internet broadcast will be made of the event on streaming.

All of the parties in favour of the consultation on 9 November are supporting the V mobilisation in Barcelona, and many of the political leaders will take part.