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Tue, 12 Nov 2019 10:15 GMT

Tensions Escalate in Barcelona as Catalan Separatists Clash with Security


7Dnews London - Reuters

Wed, 16 Oct 2019 03:18 GMT

Thousands of Catalan separatists have protested for the second day in the centre of Barcelona on Tuesday, October 15th.

The demonstrations came after the Spanish Supreme Court’s ruling to jail nine of the separatist leaders, Reuters reported.

The court punished former regional Vice President Oriol Junqueras, who was given the longest prison sentence of 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds.

"We're not going to stop thinking what we think; ideals can't be derailed by jail sentences," Junqueras said, adding that a new plebiscite was "inevitable."

Diana Riba, the wife of another convicted Catalan leader, Raul Romeva, seemed more defiant as she urged everyone to participate in the street protests.

“This is a very long process, but we will see results as we did with the feminist movement; how they grew until becoming massive and achieving the rights that they were seeking,” she added.

The protesters ignored the police warnings and vowed to continue undeterred after the Spanish authorities have deployed hundreds of extra police to the region in anticipation of the ruling.

They sang the Catalan anthem and shouted, "The streets will always be ours" and ''Independence," as well as slogans calling the Spanish police "occupying forces" and urging them to leave Catalonia.

Barcelona's El Prat airport was almost paralysed after the cancellation of 45 flights on Tuesday in addition to more than a hundred grounded on Monday due to the protests by Catalan independence supporters, the airport authority said.

Barcelona's airport, Spain's second largest, was the focal point of the protests, with thousands of people gathering there following the jailing of nine separatist Catalan leaders by the Spanish Supreme Court.

Jordi Munoz, a spokesman for Spanish airport operator Aena, said there are no delays or cancellations planned for Wednesday, October 16th, adding that Tuesday had largely been calm.

"The 45 cancelled flights today are actually a consequence of yesterday's cancellations,” he explained.