South Tyrolean Independence Day

18 May 2013

Cohesion, that is crucial if a people wants to achieve something. It needs the will and the courage to change something. And that could be felt at the Independence Day in Meran. The Tyroleans are taking their future into their own hands again. More than 10,000 people came on May 18. A spirit of optimism was in the air.

The major event of the South Tyrolean Schützenbund was held under the motto "iatz! More freedom and independence" and exceeded many expectations. With Tyrolean flags waving, the city on the river Passer was taken in hand. The people themselves are now driving the decision on South Tyrol's independence. The South Tyroleans want to decide freely where and how they want to live in the future.

Various South Tyrolean associations and regional parliamentary parties took the opportunity to present their visions for the future of southern Tyrol. An entertaining supporting program with various traditional groups and artists was offered. Representatives of the peoples striving for freedom from Catalonia, Scotland, the Basque Country, Flanders, Veneto, Trieste, Tibet and Bavaria also came and presented their customs and culture. They described their situation to the South Tyroleans. But they also came to celebrate together with thousands of Tyroleans from Welsh, North, East and South Tyrol.

It was a celebration of different peoples who have one thing in common: They demand the independence and freedom of their homeland. Young and old and especially many families filled Meran.

Already before the event, Elmar Thaler, commander of the Schützenbund, affirmed that Italy will be a neighboring country of South Tyrol in the near future. In doing so, he denounced the dithering of many people in positions of responsibility in matters of greater freedom and independence. "Fear is something we all have. The difference lies in the question of what," said Thaler, underlining that in the country many people finally wanted action in this uncertain situation for the detachment of South Tyrol from Italy. In his words he pointed out many possible solutions and underlined the strong bond to the fatherland Austria and to the remaining parts of Tyrol.

In conclusion, Andreas Leiter-Reber, as the host district major of the Schützenbund, thanked all those present for coming on behalf of the South Tyrolean Riflemen and was visibly pleased that the term "freedom" was used in such a positive way.