Everything ready for Barcelona’s “We’ll take them in” march on 18 February

The rally is part the “Our home, your home” campaign, an effort backed by over 800 associations. A music festival in Palau Sant Jordi next Saturday will serve as a warm-up event.

On Saturday February 18 Barcelona city will host a large demonstration with the slogan “We’ll take them in” as part of the “Our home, your home” campaign which brings together about 900 groups and associations of all sorts who strive to show active solidarity towards immigrants and refugees. The march will be the highlight of a campaign spanning several months with over 70,000 people endorsing the joint manifesto. A warm-up event is scheduled for Saturday February 11 with a music festival in Barcelona’s Palau Sant Jordi featuring about fifty acts. All 15,000 tickets were sold out within just two weeks.

The advert for the rally starts off with messages presumably by Spanish president Mariano Rajoy, Donald Trump, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán and far-right French candidate Marine Le Pen: “I am the one who washes off his hands, who claims that their life is less valuable than yours, that there’s no room for everyone here, that there’s nothing we can do”. Several unnamed people reply: “Together we can”.

Among the many events held in the last few weeks to prepare the protest, last Tuesday a banner was shown in Camp Nou during FC Barcelona’s Cup match advertising the march and a mosaic was displayed made up of 4,500 pieces of cardboard, the exact number of refugees that the Catalan government has volunteered to take. Last Sunday in Barceloneta there was a memorial for the 14 African migrants who died three years ago on Ceuta’s Tarajal beach when Spain’s Guardia Civil fired rubber bullets and tear gas at them as they were trying to get to shore on a dinghy.

Adriana Cabeceran, the groups’ spokesperson, explained that “we won’t be marching as a matter of good faith, but in support of human rights. We will come out to say that we support migrants and refugees, to say ‘no’ to international borders and to support the right to free circulation, which is enshrined in international treaties”. The campaign demands safe, legal passage into Europe and decries that the EU’s member states and institutions are “complicit” in the death of over 5,000 people in the Mediterranean Sea last year. The protest will also serve to denounce “institutional racism” against migrants in Catalonia, regardless of their administrative status: “we say that we want to take in migrants and refugees, but not just in any way, we want equal rights and dignity because their struggle is our struggle. It is a struggle for universal rights to schooling, health care and a home and to obtain nationality: we want citizens with full rights”.

The campaign’s coordinator, Rubén Wagensberg, explained that the march will kick off in Plaça Urquinaona at 4 pm on February 18 and will move along Via Laietana, all the way to Parc de la Barceloneta. There will be four blocs at the front of the march: the first one with volunteers, the second with the associations that work with migrants and refugees, while the rest of the groups will be in the third bloc and officials and political parties will be in the fourth section.

Wagensberg announced that after the rally they will submit a ten-point document to the Catalan government outlining “urgent, specific measures” to better welcome “migrants and refugees who are already here, as well as those yet to arrive”. This will give the campaign some continuity.

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