March 22, 2023

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Catalonia: Independence movement airs its divisions at annual rally

Catalonia: Independence movement airs its divisions at annual rally

The Catalan independence movement displayed its factions in broad daylight on Sunday, during its traditional annual “Diada” meeting, criticizing the dialogue with Madrid led by the regional leader, and did not participate in the march.

“The parties have betrayed us” or “Government: DUI (unilateral declaration of independence, editor’s note) or resignation”, read some of the posters that have attracted attention this year, along with estelada flags, symbols of the Catalan demand. Independence.

“Enough is enough for us: Madrid, our politicians and everything,” says José Aladel, a 65-year-old retiree from Girona.

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the organizer of the demonstration, is disappointed by the lack of commitment shown by the ruling Catalan parties, which they hope will give new impetus to a movement whose defeat in 2017’s declaration of independence left them permanently weakened.

With 150,000 participants, according to the Guardia Urbana (700,000 according to the organizers), the march certainly brought together more than last year (108,000 according to the Guardia Urbana), but far from the crowds of more than a million people at the height. Separatist intensity.

Disagreements are now deep between those who have not given up on the goal of achieving independence even unilaterally, and the pragmatic vision of the Republican Party of Catalonia (ERC), the party of Pere Aragonés, the head of the regional executive. .

« Chairman of the General Assembly [le gouvernement catalan, ndlr], who represents his party, is not in favor of independence,” regrets 58-year-old Francesc Zubani, who marches with the slogan “We will win again, independence! »

“The movement is divided, but by political forces,” he adds.

Feeling isolated by organizers, Pere Aragonés had decided not to go to a demonstration last year that was greeted with whistles.

Ministers from the ERC’s Catalan government members were also absent on Sunday, unlike the regional coalition’s other pro-independence party, Together for Catalonia (JxC, right).

Splits at opposite ends of the libertarian unity that was born a decade ago and led to the culmination of 2017.

Five years after this frenzied autumn, in which the Catalan government declared short-lived independence condemned by Madrid and led to the imprisonment or flight of key pro-independence leaders, the context is very different.

The ERC’s commitment to dialogue with the Spanish government of Pedro Sánchez, the socialist he supports in the Madrid parliament, remains firm, and has not been swayed by the revelation a few months ago that Spanish intelligence had spied on separatist elected officials in the past. .

Pere Aragones recalled his strategy on Saturday, during the traditional TV news “Diada”.

“It is important to stress that we are succeeding in bringing the conflict to the political level. We manage to bring him back to the position he should never have left,” the Catalan president said.

“Catalonia will vote. It will be sooner or later, depending on how strong we are, but it will be,” he added.

However, the more radical separatist sectors seem to have lost patience, saying they are disappointed by elected officials who, in their view, have not kept their promises.

“The separatist parties did not meet the expectations of the people”, sad, disappointed in the parade, Nues Costa, 62 years old: “People are depressed because we fought a lot and for nothing”.

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