Police in Barcelona move to stop "peaceful" budget protest

Security forces attempt to clear area around regional assembly ahead of Wednesday's vote

The permanent camps across Spain set up by the May 15 Movement may have been largely dismantled, but the campaign has taken on a more fluid motion in Barcelona, where on Tuesday evening hundreds of people tried to converge on the Catalan regional assembly with the aim of derailing Wednesday's scheduled debate on the Generalitat's budget.

Police shut down access to the area around the city's Ciutadella Park on Tuesday evening, denying access to the protestors, who had convened despite the regional interior department ordering its closure on Monday.

The organizers informed protestors through social network sites that at least 14 marches originating in the city would meet up in the park. They had planned to spend the night outside the parliament building and at 7am on Wednesday morning form a "human cordon" to prevent members from entering, which is a crime under article 494 of the Penal Code. "But they have never applied this article," one of the spokespeople for the movement said, adding that the protest would be "peaceful, massive and determined." Camping in the city is also prohibited under municipal bylaws. "Not everything legal is fair and not everything fair is legal," say the protestors.

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The leader of the Popular Party in Barcelona, Alberto Fernández Díaz, said it was time to dislodge the "remaining anti-system protestors from Plaça Catalunya and reclaim the square for the city."

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