The general strike called for this Wednesday in Catalonia to protest the pre-trial custody of various members of the sacked Catalan government and the application of emergency powers in the region by Madrid has not attracted widespread backing.
More than 50 roads were blocked in Catalonia, including the AP-7 highway along the Catalan coast where students stopped traffic. Several groups of protesters also obstructed commuter train lines in Barcelona while 500 people took up positions on the tracks at the high-speed AVE train station in Girona. Some 85% of Metro services in Barcelona are reported to be running.
In some cases, including on the Ronda de Dalt section of Barcelona’s B-20 Beltway, drivers confronted demonstrators who have been blocking the road since early this morning.
Otro grupo de manifestantes corta el otro sentido de la Ronda de Dalt en la salida de Barcelona. Ya van cuatro horas de corte. pic.twitter.com/YyWdGFUimV— Guillem Andrés (@Guillem_Andres) November 8, 2017
Another group of protesters block the Ronda de Dalt Barcelona exit. The road has been closed for four hours already
Bus and train services in Catalonia were, for the most part, running normally on Thursday morning after work committees decided not to join the general strike. However, picketers held up services on some commuter lines in Barcelona including the R1, R3 and R4, while high-speed AVE services were affected in and around Girona.
Música en las vías AVE pic.twitter.com/KwaodoJBlL— Marta Rodríguez Font (@MartaRodriguezF) November 8, 2017
Music on the AVE (high-speed) train tracks
However, operations in the Barcelona port area and other industrial zones in the Catalan capital were proceeding with normality on Thursday morning, according to union sources. Most stores, restaurants and markets are also open. But one union spokesperson said that more people in the education and public broadcasting sectors had chosen to take part in the strike.
The strike, which was called by the small Intersindical-CSC union, does not have the backing of Spain’s general workers unions, the CCOO and the UGT, which together represent 85% of all union members in Catalonia.
The two unions have called for demonstrations at 12pm and 6pm but have not backed the call for a general strike because there is no labor dispute at hand.
The Catalan High Court (TSJC) on Tuesday dismissed a petition by the Foment del Treball Nacional employers’ group to have the strike deemed illegal.
English version by George Mills.