Tens of thousands take to streets of Catalonia on day of general strike
Catch up with our coverage from Tuesday after unions called stoppages in response to actions by Spanish National Police and Civil Guard on Sunday
Two days after Catalonia held a banned independence referendum, the region was operating at half speed on Tuesday due to a general strike called by small unions. The two large Spanish general workers’ unions, UGT and CC OO, have encouraged people to demonstrate in a “paro de país” (country stoppage) to protest the police violence on Sunday, but underscored that they are not participating in the call for a general strike.
For weeks, the separatist movement has been trying to attract Catalonia’s majority unions to their cause. But the latter’s position is to demand a legal, negotiated referendum for the region, not a unilateral secession.
The strike was called to protest National Police and Civil Guard action on Sunday after almost 850 people ended up needing medical attention as ugly scenes played out – scenes that were beamed around the world – between the authorities and members of the public.
Minimum services were established during rush hour (from 6.30am to 9.30am, and from 5pm to 8pm) for subway, bus and train services. The strike has been backed by the Catalan executive, known as the Generalitat.
Meanwhile, members of the National Police and Civil Guard were under pressure from the hotels where they are staying to leave, and in some cases were ejected.
Thousands of people also gathered in Barcelona and Reus to protest in front of police stations.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is set to make an appearance in Congress next week, and held talks with other political leaders in a bid to deal with the Catalan crisis.
Data from the poll shows around 90% of voters cast their ballots in favor of independence. However, participation was just 2,262,424 of a total voter pool of 5,343,358, for a turnout rate of 42%, according to the Catalan government’s own figures. The abstention rate was 58%.
That brings to a close our coverage of another extraordinary day of events in Catalonia. You can see all of our stories on the region's bid for indpendence here. The English Edition will be back tomorrow morning with further updates. Thanks for reading.
Peaceful scene on the streets of Pineda de Mar right now, reports J. J. Gálvez, although local residents are still outside the hotel where police officers are staying. The municipality has been at the center of a row today after claims the local council tried to force the hotel to eject the officers, something the mayor has since denied.
Harassment of journalists. Reporter from La Sexta, Guimoar Roglán, claims to have been chased through the streets by hundreds of people for 25 minutes after leaving the Catalan parliament. She eventually had to seek refuge in a municipal police car, which was being escorted by the Mossos.
The chiefs of the Mossos d’Esquadra have thanked their officers for the role they played during the referendum. In an internal message they express appreciation for “the work carried out in a silent but efficient manner” in recent days, “especially since Friday and during the tough day we went through [on Sunday]. No one can argue that it will go down in the history of our country as a sad day,” the statement continues, because it “saw at least 893 injured.” Reporting by Rebeca Carranco. Photo: Mossos chief Josep Lluís Trapero. (JOAN SÁNCHEZ)