he Spanish government’s extraordinary cabinet meeting in Barcelona on Friday morning was the focal point for a large deployment of police officers, as well as a number of protests near the Palau Llotja de Mar building close to the seafront, where the meeting was held.

The day began with dozens of police vans and hundreds of Catalan and Spanish officers deployed around the meeting’s venue from 5.30 am onwards, with more officers forming a security perimeter around the area.

Protesters against the visit of the Spanish executive did not make it to the venue due to the cordons, but demonstrations were active nearby. The Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) pro-independence pressure group gathered in centric places like Via Laietana and cut key roads, such as the Diagonal avenue and the Passeig de Gràcia boulevard.

A CDR demonstration had also gathered in Espanya square before beginning to make its way down Paral·lel avenue in direction of the seafront, while another protest was blocking traffic on the Gran Via avenue in the direction of Llobregat.

Minor incidents

The Catalan police reported minor incidents during the rallies, including one protester arrested in Via Laietana for having material “which could be used to make an incendiary or explosive artifact.”

Clashes between the Catalan police and demonstrators were also reported after, according to the law enforcement, the cordon in Avinguda Paral·lel was attacked. Overall thirteen people ended up arrested during the demonstrations on Friday morning.

The police also said that some protesters threw paint, bottles and other objects to its cordon outside Llotja de Mar, the venue where the cabinet meeting was taking place.

With protests by a number of pro-independence groups announced earlier in the week, many people decided to steer clear of Barcelona on Friday morning, with 53% fewer vehicles than normal entering the city’s metro area between 6 am and 8 am.