La Diada, celebrated on September 11th, is Catalonia’s National Day. It commemorates the fall of Barcelona on September 11 1714.  On that day, Catalonia lost the governing institutions it had maintained since the Middle Ages. In 1716, with the Nova Planta Decree, King Philip V of Borbon abolished them and subjected Catalonia to the laws of the Spanish central power, which entailed a great repression of the culture, language and traditions of the Catalans that continued into the successive reigns and dictatorships.

The Catalan people have since commemorated that day as the day they lost their liberties and state institutions. Today, the Diada has become a popular, festive   day of protest, on which Catalan people massively and peacefully rally for Catalan independence. Since 2012, huge demonstrations have filled the streets of Barcelona and Catalonia. Every year, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators take to the streets to assert their right to self-determination.

The right of a people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law. It states that a people, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference.

After years of massive social and political struggle, on October 1st, 2017, an independence referendum was held in Catalonia. Despite the arrest of Catalan government officials and the violence of Spanish police to suppress the voting and to seize the ballot boxes, the referendum took place with a turnout of 43%, with 90% voting “Yes”, and on 27th October the Catalan parliament voted for secession.

Since that moment, the Spanish authorities have launched a systematic campaign of repression against the Catalan people, including the persecution of more than 3,300 peaceful activists and representatives, the imprisonment of 9 civil and political leaders and the obstruction by the Spanish judiciary of Catalan elected representatives taking their seats in democratic institutions, including the European Parliament.

These repressive actions have a negative impact on fundamental rights, especially the freedoms of speech, opinion, peaceful assembly, and the right to a fair trial and liberty and security, as denounced by international institutions such as the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and the Council of Europe, and NGOs such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the World Organization Against Torture, and the International Commission of Jurists, among others.

After years of massive social and political struggle, on October 1st, 2017, an independence referendum was held in Catalonia. Despite the arrest of Catalan government officials and the violence of Spanish police to suppress the voting and to seize the ballot boxes, the referendum took place with a turnout of 43%, with 90% voting “Yes”, and on 27th October the Catalan parliament voted for secession.

This year’s 11th of September Catalan National Day protest will be centred on the city of Barcelona, with the goal of mobilizing the citizens and the grassroots movement to place pressure on the institutions and to convey that independence will not be won without fighting. Starting at 17:14h, in commemoration of the year Barcelona fell, the mobilization will consist of a march from Avinguda del Paral·lel, through Moll de la Fusta, Avinguda Isabel II and along Avinguda Marquès de l’Argentera to Estació de França.

This year, we will be happy to greet you during the whole 11th of September at the Assemblea Meeting Point in the southernmost point of Les Rambles – Plaça de Colom, which will also be the Accreditation Point for the international guests who will join the head of this year’s demonstration, as well as for the international media and correspondents covering the event.

For more information, please check our international website or contact international@assemblea.cat