Hundreds of people are protesting against the visit of the Spanish government across Catalonia on Friday early morning by cutting several roads. In a very much expected move, CDR pro-independence activists cut roads such as the main highway in the country, the AP-7, in l’Ampolla, sourthern Catalonia. Some other roads were also cut, including both Barcelona’s ring roads, Ronda de Dalt (B-20) and Ronda Litoral (B-10), among others. In several road protests, demonstrators burned tires and in the C-58 road they cut a tree to prevent cars from travelling.
The Spanish government is unprecedentedly meeting in the Catalan capital on Friday at 9.30, in the Llotja de Mar building, very close to the Ronda Litoral. Larger demonstrations are expected in the area during the morning.
The date chosen for this meeting is considered a provocation, since it marks the first anniversary of last year’s Catalan elections, called by the then-Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy under article 155. The Catalan election resulted in a victory by the pro-independence parties, despite the limitations suffered by many of their candidates (in prison or exile) and the subsequent suspensions of elected MPs as part of the judicial case against the movement.
One of the largest civic pressure groups, the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC), has called for drivers to take part in a go-slow protest on Friday morning. The protest’s aim, said the ANC, is to drive “slowly through Barcelona to show them they are not welcome.”
Òmnium’s ‘Popular Cabinet Meeting’
Meanwhile, the other major pro-independence grassroots organization, Òmnium Cultural, whose president Jordi Cuixart is in prison awaiting trial, has called a ‘Popular Cabinet Meeting’ to “say no” to the presence of the Spanish ministers in the Catalan capital.
Taking place at 11am outside Barcelona’s França station, the event will include various civil society organizations. Òmnium’s vice president, Marcel Mauri, has insisted the event will be peaceful and called on the Spanish authorities to ensure there is no violence.
CDR to court controversy again
Some of the most controversial protests by pro-independence supporters recently have come from the Committees for the Republic (CDR) pressure group, which has included blocking major highways, something the group plans to repeat on various roads on Friday.
The CDR are also preparing a number of demonstrations, principally in Barcelona and the northern regional capital of Girona. The main CDR demonstration will take place outside the Llotja de Mar at 9am, where the Spanish cabinet meeting is due to take place.
In the past few days, the CDR has been rallying supporters mostly on social media, calling the cabinet meeting a “provocation” as it falls on the anniversary of last year’s Catalan election that saw the pro-independence parties hang on to their majority in Parliament.
Spanish police arrive in Salou
On Wednesday, dozens of police officers from around Spain began arriving in Catalonia, specifically in the coastal resort of Salou, south of Barcelona. The Spanish authorities are deploying 600 officers to reinforce security while the cabinet meeting takes place.
In all, 400 officers from the Spanish police and 200 from the Guardia Civil will be deployed for the event. The decision has caused concern in Catalonia, with the memories of the heavy-handed tactics used by Spanish police deployed for last year’s October 1 referendum.
While the government insists the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, can maintain order without outside help, the authorities in Madrid say the officers will remain in the country until December 23, with the possibility of extending their stay should it be deemed necessary.