La Diada 2016

A Punt Endavant República-Ready Forward Republic

The 2016 Diada or National Day of Catalonia was slightly different from other years as it consisted of five separate demonstrations in the towns of Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida, Berga and Salt.

My initial reaction was of slight disappointment because I feared that five demonstration wouldn't make as an big an impression on the international media as a single enormous generation in Barcelona.

With the exception of the Catalan Way in 2013, in which 1.6 million Catalans formed a human chain stretching the length of Catalonia from the Valencian border to France, all the pro-independence demonstrations since La Diada of 2012 have been held in Barcelona and have drawn turnouts of between 1.5 and 2 million.

However, given the difficulty of coming up with a new idea each year, I finally decided that the 2016 demonstrations could prove a massive success.

Barcelona drew massive crowds from the heavily-populated metropolitan area, the southern and central provincial capitals of Tarragona and Lleida also had large turnouts but what has really captured my imagination was the idea of holding demonstrations in Berga and Salt.

Salt has a population of around 30,000 and Berga of just over 16,000 and both towns are likely to draw crowds from the northern Catalonia regions of the Pyrenees, Girona Province and French Catalonia.

If either of these towns draws 50,000 people or so, the effect will be amazing because they'll be fit to burst and, as is also the case with Lleida and Tarragona, people who find travelling to Barcelona too much are going to be much more willing to travel shorter distances.

This means that in overall terms La Diada 2016 could be the biggest of them all.

As with other years, the Catalan National Assembly is recommending people who want to attend to register on the official website in order to avoid overcrowding in certain places.


What Will Happen on the Day?

  • From 15.00h streets in the affected areas will gradually be closed.
  • As of 16.00h people should go to their section. There will be various activities (concerts, giants, castells, etc.)
  • At 17:14h the action will begin as follows:

1. The bells of La Seu Vella cathedral in Lleida will ring to announce the beginning.

2. A common manifesto will be read out to instrumental music.

3. Everyone in Lleida is to raise markers (these will be handed out on the day) to the beat of the music.

4. The same action will then follow in Berga, Salt, Tarragona and finally Barcelona.

5. To complete the action, a rocket in every city will announce that the time has come to lift the markers, all at the same time, to the beat of the music, while castells raise pillars that symbolise the values of the Catalan Republic.

My Thoughts on the Day

I decided to make this short video, which basically explains what I did throughout the day. It was very similar to what we did in 2012 and 2014, when we also had a house party with friends and, given that we live in the centre of Barcelona, were just a short walk away from the main demonstration.

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