As tens of thousands of Catalans prepare to attend what has become an annual demonstration on Catalonia’s National Day (‘La Diada’) on 11 September, calling for the right to self-determination, some political parties have turned their backs on the protest.
The Catalan Socialists (PSC), for example, have accused the government of funding an event that addresses ‘only half of Catalans’ with the aim of turning 11 September into the national day of the independence movement.
‘The independence camp has inappropriately taken over the institutions that belong to everyone, as well as events such as the National Day,’ said the PSC’s head of municipal policy, Jaume Collboni, on Monday.
Collboni said that as long as the national day event ‘divides’ rather than ‘unites’, PSC will speak out against it in favour of an ‘inclusive’ celebration ‘for everyone’. On Tuesday, the Socialists will take part in some institutional events, such as the traditional floral offering to historical Catalan icon, Rafael Casanova, but will boycott the main protest.
It is a posture that the main opposition party in Catalonia, Ciutadans (Cs), has also adopted. The unionist party’s spokesman, Carlos Carrizosa, said on Monday that Cs will not take part in any of the institutional events, but will organize an alternative event with Cs party leaders, Albert Rivera and Inés Arrimadas.
‘Our event will insist on the message that far from confrontation and division, we must opt for union and togetherness,’ said Carrizosa, who added: ‘The push for independence has ruined a lot of things but one of the clearest has been September 11’.
Both PSC and Cs questioned the funding of the national day demonstration. The Socialists say they will ask about its cost in Parliament, while Cs said the main protest is ‘sponsored by the Catalan government’ and the party will demand details of the ‘public money’ spent on it.
However, not all the parties outside the independence camp were so critical. The Catalunya en Comú Podem party (CatECP) on Monday called on the public to take part in the 11 September demonstration ‘to move Catalonia forward’.
While the CatECP left-wing coalition is skeptical of the push for independence, it does support a self-determination referendum. Podem Catalunya – one of the coalition’s main partners – said on Monday that the party would take part in the national day celebrations to help ‘normalise’ 11 September and make it ‘inclusive’ for all Catalans.