Pro-independence groups in Catalonia are planning protests as the Spanish cabinet meets in Barcelona on Thursday, December 20, and Friday, December 21. The Committee for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), the main organizer of the demonstrations, has called for large protests and road blockades. The cabinet meeting will be held at Casa Llotja de Mar in downtown Barcelona. Approximately 9000 security personnel are expected to be present. Public demonstrations and associated transportation and heightened security measures are likely. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Tensions in Catalonia have been high since a controversial and unsanctioned independence referendum held on October 1, 2017, in which 90 percent of votes cast were in support of independence. Polling was interrupted by the National Police, who reportedly raided several polling stations. Violent clashes between pro-secessionist protesters and national police resulted in 893 civilians and 431 security personnel being injured. The results were ruled unconstitutional and annulled by the central government in Madrid.
The CDR has staged other protests recently, including blocking the main highways in Catalonia on December 8-9.
Individuals in Barcelona are advised to monitor the situation, confirm the status of transportation routes, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution, and anticipate a heightened security presence, protests, and associated disruptions, particularly near Casa Llotja de Mar.
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