INDEPENDENCE activists in Catalonia are preparing for a weekend of events to mark the fourth anniversary of the referendum that led to a declaration of independence and the imposition of direct rule by the Spanish government.

The vote is seen as a crucial milestone for the movement because it was held and won – despite being ruled illegal by Spain – in the face of police brutality by National Guard officers against would-be voters, which saw more than 1000 people injured.

Grassroots activists from the Committee for the Defence of the Republic (CDR) groups have called for protests over the weekend, starting in Barcelona on Friday evening.

Other rallies will take place at the same time in Vic and Girona, with events also planned in Granollers and Santa Coloma de Gramenet The CDR activists have previously blocked motorways and high-speed rail links, and one organiser told reporters: “On October 1 we wrote one of the most important pages of our recent history. We showed to the world the meaning of solidarity and dignity, and it will not be forgotten.”

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) will head north for a political gathering in the town of Ille-sur-Têt, which is administratively in southern France, but was part of the Catalan territories until 1659.

Cultural links have remained, including the use of the Catalan language, and in the run-up to the 2017 referendum, a network of people in Northern Catalonia were key to the electoral logistics because they could operate beyond the scope of Spanish police.

Dozens of other events by local ANC groups will also take place across Catalonia, with October 1 referendum ballot boxes symbolically reaching each event from the north.

The Catalan government is holding one event to mark the day in Barcelona’s Maternitat neighbourhood which will be attended by cabinet members.

Three marches will be held across Catalonia on Saturday, organised by the ANC to mark the indyref and make a further call for independence.

One Sunday pro-indy groups and trade unions will hold a demonstration in the centre of Barcelona.

The celebrations come as the far-left pro-indy CUP, saw a bid for an immediate referendum dismissed by other pro-indy parties in the coalition that governs Catalonia Together for Catalonia (JxCat) secretary, Jordi Sanchez, said the timing was wrong: “We believe that it is not the time to set a specific date and less without having agreed.

“A second referendum if it is not agreed? Do [we do] the same [as 2017]?”

Sanchez said October 1 was “a founding act of a political moment … and can only be replaced by another agreed referendum”.

Oriol Junqueras, the leader of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), also rejected the CUP move which he said would not gain the “essential” recognition of the international community.

“Bringing a date for a new referendum brings us closer to international recognition? No,” he told Catalunya Radio. “[Setting] a date would take us away from international recognition.”