Balearics leader Francesc Antich attended the official opening of the Acampallengua 2001 which is being held in the municipal park of Felanitx. The event is to promote the use of the local language, particularly among young people, and it is the fourth successive year that it has been held. Each year it is held in a different town. For two days, there are games, concerts and cultural events and this year, more than 4'000 persons are taking part. Miquel Riera, the Mayor of Felanitx, and Miquel Socias and Nuria Muntaner, spokespersons for the organisers, welcomed Antich. The tonic of the speeches at the opening was one of criticism aimed at King Juan Carlos, for a speech he made earlier this week at the presentation of the Cervantes Prize, Spain's top literary award, and Prime Minister José María Aznar. In his speech, the King had said that nobody had imposed Castillian Spanish. Maria Antonia Vadell, the vice president of the Council of Majorca, said “We should demand respect for our language.” Antich's speech ran along similar lines: “Those who govern the State at the moment threaten us because they do not want us to use our own language in the activities which are carried out in the Balearic Community. They do not believe and do not want to understand that this State is plural and has different cultures.” He went on to say that despite “the threats against our language, we should be optimistic because for the first time in 300 years, we have the chance to advance and work for our language. Our Community must be free to have and preserve its own culture and traditions outside the uniformity others wish to impose on us.”


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