Rally marking the National Day of Catalonia is well-attended · Poet Feliu Formosa criticizes Spain for 'restricting Catalonia’s well-being' and continuing to 'plunder' a nation to an extent that is unparalleled 'in the Western world'.
This year's pro-independence march through central Barcelona was attended by thousands of people, all calling for the creation of a separate Catalan state. Dozens of organizations participated in the rally, which took place on the National Day of Catalonia, September 11, under the slogan "We are a nation. We want our own state." The march was organized by a number of groups, including civil organizations Pel Dret de Decidir, Sobirania i Progrés, and Proseleccions Catalanes, and the Centre d'Estudis Sobiranistes, CIEMEN and Intersindical-CSC. Organizers announced that 20,000 people, all unhappy that Catalonia's progress is being hindered by the Spanish state, took part in the rally.
Jurist Alfons López Tena, former ERC leader Àngel Colom, and actor Joel Joan headed the participating civil organizations. Their protest ended with a manifesto being read by poet Feliu Formosa. This is the complete text of the manifesto:
SEPTEMBER 11, 2008 MANIFESTO: WE ARE A NATION. WE WANT OUR OWN STATE
"Two hundred and ninety-four years ago to the day, the Catalan Countries lost their state institutions, their legislative powers, control over their economic resources, and the official status of their language. Today, although our institutions have been reinstated in part, Spanish legal and political systems continue to restrict our well-being and our cultural development.
The Catalan language loses its strength and prestige and is being used less and less as Spanish institutions pursue a policy of cultural homogenization based on a single language considered to be superior. The gap between the taxes our citizens have to pay and the public services we receive in return is nothing short of plunder, plunder to an extent that is unparalleled in the Western world. The plunder of Catalonia affects people's daily lives. It is responsible for hundreds of thousands of people living below the poverty line, for the middle classes paying extra for basic public services, for businesses being forced to face the challenges of globalization without the necessary infrastructure, and for the problems we have integrating immigrants into our communities.
In short, it is today more apparent than ever that we have gone as far as we can with autonomism, which has been unable to solve basic problems or come up with visionary projects for our collective future. It is now time for us to set an ambitious, inspirational, and clear objective: our own state.
We are here today to state publicly that our right to self-determination can be delayed no longer and that the common goal of Catalanism must now be a state for our nation.
Because we want an efficient and competitive infrastructure network.
Because we want quality public services that are not constantly overstretched.
Because we do not want to pay first-world prices when some of our citizens live in the fourth.
Because we want to compete internationally without our progress being hindered.
Because we want Catalan to be our common tongue and to unite all the citizens of our country, wherever they have come from originally.
Because we want to have our own voice in international relations.
Because we want our nation to be free, modern, developed, fair, responsible, respectful, cultured, proud, and open to the world.
Because progress cannot made unless we have a clear objective.
We are here today to shout loud and clear for all to hear:
WE ARE A NATION! WE WANT OUR OWN STATE!"