But the march could not have been worse timed, according to Josep-Lluis Carod-Rovira, deputy leader of the Catalan regional government and a leader of the separatist Catalan Republican Left party. "This is ridiculous," he complained. "We will end up with more Spanish flags being waved for the Spain-Holland match on Sunday than Catalan flags on the Saturday demonstration."
Barcelona did not experience the same wild celebrations that provoked gridlock in parts of Madrid after the semi-final win against Germany on Wednesday, but Carod-Rovira is right that growing support for La Roja overshadows attempts to assert Catalonia's "different" identity.
Viewing figures showed three-quarters of Catalan television sets were tuned into one of the channels showing the Germany game. As horn-tooting cars and motorbikes flying Spanish flags drove around the city afterwards, flag-waving, chanting fans gathered on Barcelona's Ramblas boulevard in a previously unseen, and unimaginable, celebration of Spanishness.
The red and gold Spanish flag that is so viscerally disliked by local nationalists has even begun to appear on Barcelona balconies. Something, undoubtedly, is changing. "You will now find people out on the streets in La Roja shirts, or with the Spanish flags that are normally considered taboo here," said Marcelino Sánchez, who was among those celebrating in Las Ramblas.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Joy on the streets of Madrid...
and also Barcelona, it would appear!