Saturday, September 13, 2014

7,000 pro-Spanish unity supporters gather in Tarragona, former capital of the Roman province

On Catalonia's National Day, the Spanish unity association Societat Civil Catalana (Catalan Civil Society, in English), organised a demonstration to protest against the self-determination process in Tarragona. It was a demonstration organised weeks ago as an answer to the massive pro-independence rally organised on the same day in Barcelona. The Tarragona demonstration gathered 7,000 people according to the local police and 3,500 according to the Catalan Police. The Barcelona rally gathered 1.8 million people according to the local police and 520,000 according to the Spanish Government. The anti-independence rally was backed by the People's Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government, the populist and Spanish nationalist parties C's and UPyD, and by leading members of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), such as Carme Chacón. They chose this city because it used to be the capital of the Roman Empire's province of Hispania Citerior. The PP leader in Catalonia said that "the silent Catalonia is raising its voice". The leader of C's accused the parties supporting self-determination of "dividing Catalans".


The day before Catalonia's National Day, Societat Civil Catalana (SCC) organised its first event with a few descendants of people who fought in Barcelona's military siege of 1713 and 1714, after which Catalonia loss its sovereignty, self-government institutions and its Constitution. After Barcelona's defeat in 1714 a harsh political, economic, social and cultural repression started throughout Catalonia, and Spanish authorities banned the Catalan language. On the 10th of September 2014, the Italian aristocrat Luis Maria Gonzaga de Casanova-Cárdenas attended the event together with his wife, Monika von Habsburg-Lothringen, Archduchess of Austria and sister of the heir to the Imperial throne. Gonzaga de Casanova-Cárdenas, which has also family ties with the Bourbon family, is a direct descendant of Rafel de Casanova, who led Barcelona's resistance in the last hours of the 1714 siege against the Bourbon troops. He and his wife offered flowers to Rafel de Casanova tomb, together with direct descendants of Bourbon combatants, such as Carles de Veciana.

"We do not want to feel like foreigners in our own country"

On the evening of the 11th of September, SCC gathered people in Tarragona's city centre and they met in the former Roman arena. The anti-independence association's President, Josep Ramon Folch, emphasised that "people whose all 8 surnames are Catalan" attended their event, strongly highlighting the origin of the participants. Furthermore, SCC representatives accused self-determination supporters of "dividing Catalan society". They also accused them of "reinterpreting and manipulating history". SCC complained that pro-independence supporters have "kidnapped the Catalan flag" and they reaffirmed their "right to remain in Spain". "We do not want to feel like foreigners in our own country", Folch stated.

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