On Saturday we went to Carcassonne for the Anem Oc! demonstration in support of the Occitan language and official recognition of the fact that it is spoken over the whole of southern France, into the alpine valleys of northern Italy and in the Val d’Aran in the Pyrenees, in Catalunya – the only place where it is an official language. The atmosphere was lively, festive, noisy and fun and there were about 25,000 people on the march through the streets of Carcassonne and up to the Cité, the old medieval town.
|There was a wonderful mix of fun and politics – women on stilts, Occitan, Breton, Basque and Catalan flags, and banners demanding liberty for the language and an end to fascism.|
There were traditional Occitan music groups who marched with us through the streets, the bangs of fire crackers and the cheerful shouts from the crowds of people of all ages from small children to young people to the middle aged and older. It was an exciting and inspiring event.
It took several hours for the last of the demonstrators to reach the Cité. There is a connection with the issues I usually write about on this blog, too.
The movement for Occitan language and culture is connected closely with campaigns for the environment in this part of France, and this has been so ever since the early 1970s when there were protests against the proposed extension of a military base on the Larzac plateau. These historic links were represented here by some demonstrators who carried flags depicting the cardabela, the carline thistle, symbol of the Larzac where it grows, and the present-day links were there too in the campaign literature of the Partit Oc (the Occitan Party) demanding the protection of the locally based agriculture and food of the region, as well as more Occitan schools and a better TV service.
There are more photos on Flickr: here.
Back home in the garden we found that the plants had benefited from the heavy rain we had last week and now the warm sun has returned to bring the second spring we usually have at this time of the year. We’ve sown broad beans, Spanish habas and peas, and planted cabbages, lettuces and cauliflowers which are all settling in well. And the warm weather has brought out more late blooms, including these passiflora flowers.