S-11: Catalan National Day

Hundreds of thousands to turn out en masse again today in Lleida, Salt, Berga, Tarragona and Barcelona in the final push for a Catalan Republic

At times there has been the temptation to fall into despair, but no one ever said this was going to be easy. And today, as it has done since this wave of independence sentiment began, Catalonia will answer the call. After four years of spontaneous mass rallies in the street, holding hands from one end of the country to the other, forming a giant V with the four bars of the Catalan flag and waving a huge pointer in Meridiana, the Catalan National Assembly and Òmnium have again asked citizens for one more effort to show that the independence heartbeat remains strong, that the process towards the creation of the Catalan Republic cannot be stopped and is ready to enter its final stretch with as much popular support as on the first day, if not more.

The country will today stage its fifth consecutive mass rally, one which, if the forecasts of the organisers are right and it fills the 44 sections of 200 metres with an average of around 21,700 people per stretch, will attract at least a million people.

This year, the event will reflect a cross-section of social, geographical and political spheres more than ever. Social, as it has been about all of Catalan society since day one. Geographical, because this year it reaches beyond Barcelona - the “Republic of Freedom” - to Lleida, where the focus is on territorial balance, Salt - social justice and diversity - Berga - culture - and Tarragona - progress. And political, because all democrats are called upon to join president Carles Puigdemont to consolidate Catalonia's sovereignty and defend its institutions from increasingly belligerent attacks from the Spanish state. Today, all are very welcome.

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