Demonstration in Barcelona
You probably already know that last Sunday 1.1 million people (local police estimate) held a march in Barcelona to call for greater autonomy for the Catalan region.
The demonstration came a day after a constitutional court (Tribunal Constitucional or TC) declared that there was no legal basis to recognise Catalonia as a “nation”.
The ruling also said the Catalan language should not take precedence over Castilian Spanish (castellano). The official language of Spain is castellano, but other languages are co-oficial in certain regions, like Catalan is here in Catalunya.
The TC’s decision followed a challenge to the region's new self-governing statute by the center-right opposition People's Party (PP), which favors Spanish unity. Curiously, in the past PP used to be partnered with CiU (a conservative-nationalist Catalan party). But not so much these days. The PP has some its roots from the Franco dictatorship and holds a number of their views.
The new statute of autonomy was approved by Catalan voters in a 2006 referendum. However turnout was not that high even though it was widely publicized. My opinion is that it was more of an issue for local politicians than for many people.
So the theme for Saturday’s “mani” was “We are a nation”. Ruben and I left El Masnou early in the afternoon to avoid the rush. The Rodalies commuter train was very crowded. We did some shopping around Plaça Catalunya before heading up Passeig de Gracia. By the time we got to Aragó street we couldn’t move anymore in spite of the fact the origin of the mani was several blocks further at Av. Diagonal.
We hung around for about an hour. Nothing seemed to be happening much due to the crush of people. So we decided to head back to El Masnou. We went back by way of Rambla Catalunya. After about an hour we got back to my place and found that watching the coverage on TV3 in my air conditioned salón was much more comfortable.
One more observation. There were very few police present. I only saw two on Rambla Catalunya and they were busy chatting with each other. Much different than demonstrations I have attended in California where there were plenty of police and they looked poised for “action.”
Here are a couple of pictures that I took at the corner of Passeig de Gracia and Aragó:
Photographer’s note: Auto WB, EXIF data intact.