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    People hold a banner that reads "Self-Determination is Not a Crime in Barcelona" Spain, Feb. 16, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 February 2019
Opinion

Workers, students and citizens seize Barcelona's public spaces to protest against the trial of twelve Catalan political prisoners.

Thousands of Catalans gathered Thursday for a general strike called by the workers' union Intersindical-CSC, to protest the trial of 12 Catalan leaders in the Spanish Supreme Court, most of whom are accused of rebellion and face up to 25 years in prison.

RELATED:
Pro-Independence Catalan Leaders Go On Trial in Spain

The day began with cutting off roads to the largest Catalan cities, interruptions of public transport services, and demonstrations rejecting "the trial against democracy."

According to the Spanish public railway company Renfe, there have been delays on several regional and long-distance lines due to the interruption of service. Highways and roads in the region have been blocked with burning of tires, as well as traffic interruptions in Barcelona’s main thoroughfares.

In Barcelona after midday,  citizens took over the train tracks in the station of Plaza Catalunya, cutting rail service. At University Square, thousands of people gathered to support the call to protest by the College Students Pro-Republic, the Student Union of the Catalan Countries and the Catalan National Assembly.

The square was full of banners and citizens shouting "Oct. 1, neither forgetting nor forgiving," a slogan refering to Oct. 1, 2017, a day on which the Catalan government held a popular referendum to decide about the country’s independence.

Groups of young people and the Republic Defense Committees protested energetically in front of police headquarters, where shouts announced that "This building will become a library".

Massive gatherings have also taken place in cities such as Tarragona, Girona and Eix Macia, where protesters clamored for "Independence" and shouted "Today we do not work. Today we are on general strike."

Catalonia is experiencing its third massive strike directly related to the independence process, the first two being on Oct. 3 and Nov. 8, 2017.

The general strike is supported by fifty sovereign entities and the regional government of Catalonia, which is suspending public services to support the strike.

The twelve Catalan political prisoners are on trial for their participation in the independence vote that took place in Catalonia in 2017, which culminated in the subsequent declaration of independence on Oct. 27.

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