Red, white and free it’s Gibraltar National Day

Casemates square
Sir David Steel and Fabian Picardo in Casemates Square Credit: Gibraltar Government

IN 1967, a referendum was held in Gibraltar asking whether the people wanted to remain British or join with Spain and an incredible 96.5 per cent of all registered voters turned out with just 44 people (known as the Doves) voting for Spain.

Since then, Gibraltar National Day has taken place on September 10 with a huge outpouring of National pride, the regular attendance of British MPs and members of the House of Lords and a great party feeling.

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This year, everything has been scaled back, with much of the celebration being broadcast online but there are still plenty of people on the streets, mask less but mainly observing social distancing reminding the world of their existence.

As usual, there was a video speech by the British Prime Minister confirming his personal support, that of Parliaments as well as the Queen’s for the residents of the Rock of the ongoing close relationship as both the UK and Gibraltar face the final Brexit divorce.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and new Governor Sir David Steel visited Casemates Square to speak with local residents and to wish them well despite the problems of Covid-19.

The usual fireworks display was cancelled and was replaced with televised concerts whilst  no large TV screens were placed on beaches as originally planned due to the fear of overcrowding and residents were prohibited from staking their claim to a spot on the beach the night before.

Despite this, there were plenty of people about and environmentalists were pleased that last year’s ban on release of red balloons (even so-called friendly ones) was still in place.


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