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Local participation in ‘Referendum 50’

The Gibraltar Government yesterday announced ‘Referendum 50’, a memorial event to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum that will be held on September 8 at Casemates Square.
The event held just two days before National Day on September 10 and will feature local talent with an aim to blend a serious political message with music and dance.
Referendum 50 will feature performances by Omnibus, GAMPA drumline, Chloe Martinez, Gibraltar Academy of Dance, JF Dance and Stylos Dance Studios. It will begin at 8pm on Friday 8 September and is expected to last around an hour.
There will be extracts of relevant historical material read out during the event, including an extract from the speech given in the House of Commons on 14 June 1967 by the then UK Minister for the Commonwealth Judith Hart who announced that a Referendum would take place in Gibraltar later that year.
“It will be a blend of the artistic and the political,” Dr Garcia said yesterday at a press conference.
“There will be cinematic performances by artists that will feature prominent local talent. Blended and combined in all of this there will be personal testimonials by people who lived through the experience of the 1967 referendum.”
The Government will make available seating to the general public on a first come first served basis and there will be reserved seating for elderly people also on a first come first served basis and an area for persons with disabilities.
The Referendum took place 50 years ago, which means that those aged 21or over who cast their vote at the time are now aged 71 or above.
Dr Garcia urged people who voted in the 1967 Referendum to attend the event and recall how they made history.
“The younger generation too will be able to understand better the series of historical events that have helped to gel and cement our identity,” Dr Garcia said.
The event will also serve as a curtain-raiser for the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra the day after.
“The Referendum was a watershed in the political and constitutional development of Gibraltar,” Dr Garcia said.
“It was held against the tensions generated by Franco’s Spain against us both locally at the land frontier and internationally at the United Nations. It was the first time that the people of Gibraltar were given the choice of remaining British or passing sovereignty to Spain and 99% opted for the former option. After 10 September 1967 Gibraltar was formally British by consent.”
“It is also important that younger generations understand the trials and tribulations that their ancestors lived through because this kind of shared historical experience has contributed to cementing the solid sense of Gibraltarian identity that we have today.”

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