October 9th, the day of the Valencia Community came and went in a blur. At noon, a huge crowd had gathered in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento to watch the city’s flag, la Senyera, be lowered from the city hall’s balcony. The unconventional route is dictated by a tradition which says that it may not pass through a doorway nor bow to any man.
This tradition made the ensuing action all the more bitter and outrageous for the thousands of citizens who had gathered to see their flag be paraded through the city. A group of Catalan separatists had somehow managed to get into the building next to the city hall, and unfurled a gigantic flag representing the movement for Catalan independence, just as the Valencian senyera was being lowered.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I’ve been able to gather, some Catalan separatists tend to assume that Valencia belongs in their longed-for nation. This annoys Valencians, who neither want part of an independent Catalonia, nor consider themselves in any way Catalan. The intent of the separatists was to force the Valencian flag to pass underneath theirs. For about a half hour, the parade was stopped, as the city refused to bow to such chicanery. The situation got a little sketchy, as regular, justly offended Valencians were joined by black-clad and overly vehement ultra-rightwing nationalists hurling abuse at the separatists.
Eventually the Catalan group relented and raised their flag, which allowed the parade to progress as planned. After a stop at the Cathedral, it proceeded to the Parterre Park where a short ceremony was held in honor of King James — Valencia’s hero. Then, the flag was brought back to the Ayuntamiento, and honored with a loud, celebratory mascletà.
Here some pictures from the event: