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A National Day like no other in Gibraltar, due to the coronavirus

National Day this year was very different to the usual format.
National Day this year was very different to the usual format. / SUR
  • No party in Casemates Square, a pre-recorded political rally and no live performances but Gibraltarians still enjoyed their special day

September 10th is National Day in Gibraltar and as anyone who has ever been there will know, it is one hell of a party.

Casemates Square filled with crowds dressed in the traditional colours of red and white, the political rally with UK and Gibraltarian politicians, speeches, music and dance performances, a flyover by military planes, fireworks and plenty of celebratory eating and drinking. Well, that's the normal scenario for this, the most important day on the Gibraltarian calendar, when local people revindicate their right to self-determination and pride in being British. This year, however, the coronavirus intervened.

The government decided to cancel the physical celebrations in favour of an online format. It wasn't the same atmosphere - how could it be? - but the sentiments had not changed.

As well as personal messages of congratulations and support from Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon, Arlene Foster and Mark Drakeford, in a pre-recorded rally chief minister Fabian Picardo told the people of Gibraltar that it broke his heart not to be able to celebrate in Casemates Square as usual, but he said that next year "we will be back" for "the biggest party in our history" and to "celebrate our success against all the challenges of 2020".

He also spoke about Brexit, assuring the people of the Rock that "deal or no deal, Gibraltarians will prosper" and will be "closer to Britain than we were before".