Spain in Lockdown: Half a Million People at Major Protest in Barcelona

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( — October 19, 2019) — Spain’s Interior Ministry said 128 people were detained during several days of protests in Barcelona, adding that 207 police officers were injured, Catalonian media reportsed.

The ministry has warned Catalan separatists that the law will be “enforced” and violators will be imprisoned for up to six years for attacks on police.

Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Malaska said the Spanish state would “apply the criminal code with all its might over violent separatism.”

About 525,000 advocates of Catalonia’s independence rallied in Barcelona to protest the convictions of their leaders and to seek secession from Spain, according to city police. Near the Spanish National Police building, protesters set garbage containers on fire. Tear gas was thrown and more people were taken into custody.

The main gathering, where the largest number of protesters is located, passed without incidents with numerous flags symbolizing independence and with banners of “Freedom to Political Prisoners”.

In another part of Barcelona, thousands of students, who went on strike on Wednesday, were trying to reach a Spanish National Police building guarded by the emergency police. There was an altercation where three people were detained, two of them are minors, and one police officer was injured.

Masked students approach police officers by throwing stones and bottles and retreat after police attempt to intervene. They shout “Anti-fascist Barcelona” and “The streets will always be ours”. They throw smoke bombs and firecrackers, and set up barricades.

According to Catalan media, tear gas was also thrown and police allegedly used rubber bullets.

A general strike day is taking place in Catalonia, and marches of freedom that have relocated from different areas are now flocking to large demonstrations in Barcelona.

Agencies reported that thousands of people were on the streets of Barcelona. A general strike was organized over judgments handed down by Catalan separatist leaders.

Tens of thousands of protesters demanding Catalonia’s independence from Spain filled the center of Barcelona, waving flags and demanding the release of separatist Catalan leaders, who were sentenced to long prison terms.

Some of them walked to Barcelona from various parts of Catalonia for three days, participating in the so-called “Freedom Marches.”

They joined students and workers who took to the streets today during the general strike.

Protests have been taking place every day since Monday, when the Supreme Court sentenced nine former Catalan officials to nine to 13 years in prison for their role in trying to separate Catalonia from Spain in 2017.