September 11 is La Diada, Catalonia’s national day, and as has happened every year for over a decade the pro-independence Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has organised a mass demonstration in the centre of Barcelona in favour of Catalan self-determination. The central event will take place in Plaça Espanya, with four columns of protesters setting out from different places around the city and converging on the large square at the foot of Montjuïc mountain.
Each column has been named to represent a different aspect related to Catalonia, Catalan identity and the ANC’s goals and priorities. The Llibertat (Freedom) column will begin from Ciutat de la Justícia and will move along Gran Via, the Llengua (Language) column will set out from Escola Proa in the Bordeta neighbourhood, the Soberanía (Sovereignty) column will begin in Plaça Letamendi, and the main column, País (Country), will set out from Plaça dels Països Catalans.
Under the motto ’Via fora’, the ANC demonstration will as always begin at the symbolic time of 17.14h (1714 was the year that Barcelona fell to Bourbon troops). The colours chosen for this year’s protest are blue and yellow, the colours of the European flag, and are meant to represent Catalonia as a European state outside Spain.
While the demonstration is the largest event taking place on September 11, there are plenty of other celebrations planned during La Diada. In fact, the traditional events begin the night before, at the Fossar de les Moreres, an iconic location for the independence movement and a memorial built over the graves of the defenders of Barcelona during the siege of 1714.
Catalonia’s national day itself always begins, however, with the traditional laying of a floral offering at the monument of Rafael Casanova. As mayor and commander in chief, Casanova was the man in charge of the defence of Barcelona when the city fell finally to the Bourbons in 1714.
Meanwhile, at noon, the Òmnium Cultural organisation will hold the ’Fiesta de la Llibertat’ (Festival of Freedom), a musical celebration involving the finalists of the TV3 channel’s music talent show, Eufòria. Later that day, from 7pm until midnight, Òmnium will host a series of concerts at the Arc de Triomf monument, featuring musicians Triquell, Jazz Woman and Figa Flawas.
The national day celebrations will be brought to a close with the annual institutional event on behalf of the Catalan government at Montjuïc’s Puig and Cadafalch towers. This year’s event will defend the Catalan language as a “nexus of union for diversity” and will feature a variety of musical and linguistic performances by different artists from around the country.