Tuesday, 13 July 2010
We are a nation - we will decide
The slogans were everywhere, blazing defiance on banners hanging from balconies across the ancient city of Girona: "Som una nacio - nosoltres decidem" (in Catalan they said "we are a nation - we will decide").
This weekend may have seen Spain win the World Cup but Catalan eyes were firmly on the giant demonstration in Barcelona on Saturday when 1.1m people joined a march to proclaim their desire for independence. This in a country of just 9 million people.
The march had been called in reaction to a Spanish supreme court ruling that Catalunya was not a nation in the eyes of Spanish law. The judgement sparked a huge response among Catalan organisations and eventually led to all the parties in the Generalitat (the Catalan Parliament) joining in the protest.
The ruling has galvanised pro-independence opinion in Catalunya - the march was dominated by pro-independence slogans and banners.
A large march also took place in Donostia (San Sebastian) in the Basque Country, but you sense the Catalans are ready to make the break and become the first of the stateless nations of Western Europe to join the EU. Not even a World Cup win can stifle that momentum.