Catalan and international artists support the pro-independence movement at a huge rally (via Vilaweb)
90,000 people attended a Catalan pro-independence festival in Barcelona on Saturday, held at FC Barcelona’s stadium, the biggest in Europe. Tickets were sold out and in several cities the concert was rebroadcast live on big screens in public squares. Catalan public TV also broadcast the event. The audience waved Catalonia’s yellow and red striped flag with the pro-independence star, and made up a mosaic with the flag’s colours and the words “Freedom Catalonia 2014”. A referendum is expected to be held in Catalonia next year on independence from Spain.
At the six-hour ‘Concert for Freedom’ many Catalan musicians performed, along with poets and actors. Artists from several other countries joined the Catalans. Among them were Italians Alessio Lega, Greek singer Nena Venetsanou, Arab Nabil Mansour, Amazigh Yacine Belahcene, Americans Gwen Perry and Gisele Jackson, Basques Jon Muguraza and Gorka Knörr or Spaniards Paco Ibáñez and Ramoncín. Catalan artists came from all the Catalan-speaking countries including L’Alguer, the Sardinian Catalan-speaking city, from which Franca Massu joined the concert.
The intention of the organizers, Òmnium Cultural, was to fill the stadium in an attempt to refocus international attention on the process of independence taking place in Catalonia. Òmnium is the oldest Catalan culture NGO, and has worked to support the Catalan language and culture since the darkest era of Franco’s dictatorship. It is considered to be one of the main civil society organizations in Catalonia, with more than 30,000 members.
The concert also paid tribute to singer Lluís Llach, who retired six years ago from the stage. The second part of the concert was dedicated to his songs, performed by other artists as well as the singer himself. Many people remember Lluís Llach’s concert at the same stadium back in 1985.
Also in attendance at Camp Nou were nine current ministers of the Catalan government and high-ranking members of most Catalan political parties, all of which support the right of self-determination of the Catalans. Only the pro-Spanish parties, a minority in the Catalan parliament, didn’t attend. Muriel Casals, president of Omnium addressed the people and said that ‘Catalan independence is not against anyone’ asking the government to fulfill the aspirations of independence.
You can read all the international press from this historical moment here.