Gibraltar National Day /2004

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National Day is with us again, marking the effective end of summer and the aniversary of 1967 referendum, which was followed by the establishment of the current constitution with extensive self-government.

Thousands of Gibraltarians dressed in the Rock’s national colours turned out to celebrate under the banner ‘Self-determination is democracy’. The political rally at Casemates was attended by British MPs and MEPs who support Gibraltar. As is traditional 30,000 red and white balloons were released into the skies. Peter Caruana, Chief Minister, delivered a clear message that Gibraltar is happy to have good relations with Spain but not at the price of Gibraltarians deciding their own future.

Speaking to a crowd estimated at 12,000 Mr Caruana declared the Rock our homeland and highlighted that this was also a special year since the Rock is celebrating 300 years under British sovereignty since its capture in 1704 by Admiral Sir George Rooke. Gibraltar, he said, is a part of Britain’s heritage and there had been a mutual relationship. "This is our history and we are entitled to it", he said. Turning to the future Mr Caruana declared that this belongs to the Gibraltarians. "We tell the world that this is our homeland and only we - to the exclusion of all others can decide its future. If Spain genuinely wants to seek our friendship, if Spain genuinely and sincerely wants to respect us as a people with our rights, if Spain wants to respect our wishes and deal with us as civilised, friendly European neighbours, we will respond positively. None of this can be bought by others in exchange for our sovereignty, or in exchange for our right to self-determination. That is out of the question". he said in a rousing speech, the crowd cheered him loudly, with much enthusiasm.

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