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Joint Yes campaign to kick off on September 15

Pro-independence groups and political parties will hold three main events, with Barcelona city hosting the largest

A start date has been set for the joint Yes campaign: Friday September 15. The president of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (Catalan National Assembly, ANC in Catalan), Jordi Sànchez, announced the date at a press conference held in Barcelona’s Plaça del Rei. Pro-independence grassroots groups and political parties will jointly hold the three main events of the campaign in the weeks leading up to the independence vote on October 1 (1-O). Sànchez claimed that “this will be the single most important campaign this nation has ever seen”. Still, for the last few weeks the ANC, Òmnium Cultural and the political parties that support secession haver already been running their own warm-up campaigns, which will stretch until the joint rallies kick off.

Although the ANC president gave no details about the three main events, he did announce that one will be held in Barcelona city. Therefore, the joint Yes campaign will begin only two weeks before the date set for the ballot. Initially, they had intended to start four months earlier. The pro-independence groups and the three political parties had pencilled in the first joint rallies for May, after the National Pact for the Referendum had concluded its work. Even though all of them have been holding events across the nation in the last few weeks, yesterday the pro-secession bloc wanted to “send a message of unity”, as emphasised by Antoni Castellà, the leader of Demòcrates. In attendance at Plaça del Rei were representatives of the three parties and the grassroots groups, including the PDECat’s organisation coordinator (David Bonvehí), ERC spokesman Sergi Sabrià, CUP spokesman and former MP Quim Arrufat, as well as members of MES, Òmnium and the AMI (1), among others.

Half a million banners

Ahead of the joint rallies —and as part of the Yes effort—, yesterday the ANC made a point of explaining that they expect to “multiply by four” the number of banners featuring a “Yes” written inside a text balloon, which they began to distribute a few months ago, and they aim to hand out as many as half a million. The ANC president explained that they wish to bring together “all the shades of Yes” so that “independence wins” on October 1 in Catalonia. In order to get the ball rolling, the ANC intends for its campaign to be “coordinated” by every actor, and for “the people to get involved”. In fact, the pro-independence group has set up a website (www.webdelsi.cat) with a calendar showing every event held by the political parties and groups from now through to September 15. “It is a way for all the actors involved to acknowledge the events held by everyone else”, said an ANC source. The webpage also seeks to spread the message of independence and there will be a space for people to register as a volunteer and make a donation to help fund the campaign. Besides mentioning the rallies held by the political parties and pro-independence groups, Sànchez openly voiced his “trust” in the Catalan government. “We are the winning horse in a democratic derby”, Sànchez remarked.

35,000 people have signed up online for National Holiday event

The joint campaign slated for September 15 will be preceded by a massive event on September 11, Catalonia’s National Holiday. Jordi Sànchez stated that the “joint rally” on September 11 will be “a success” as it stands today. The ANC president went on to explain that 700 buses have been hired and 35,000 people have already signed up online to take part in the massive rally to be held at the intersection of carrer Aragó and Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona city. Òmnium’s Jordi Bosch encouraged everyone to “take part in this huge rally for democracy”.

Sànchez believes that this year’s National Holiday must act as a bridge to the referendum on October 1 but, once again, it should still be a event in support of independence. As in previous years, the ability of the Yes bloc to encourage people to come out and rally will be crucial.

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Translator’s note:

(1) The AMI (Associació de Municipis per la Independència) is an association that brings together all local councils and governments who support independence in Catalonia.

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