The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) called for demonstrations in Barcelona (Catalonia) during the trial of pro-independence leaders beginning Monday, February 4. Protests will begin each day at the Plaça de Sant Jaume in front of the Palace of the Government of Catalonia (Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya) from 09:00 to 21:00 (local time). Various pro-independence groups are reportedly scheduled for different times to ensure a consistent presence at the demonstration, which are expected to last the duration of the trial. Associated demonstrations are also possible near the parliament building. Localized disruptions and a heightened security presence are possible.
The ANC has also called for demonstrations on Friday, February 1, and Saturday, February 2, during the transfer of the prisoners from Madrid to Barcelona. Participants are expected to protest along the route; no roadblocks are planned, though transportation disruptions are possible. A related protest is also expected on Friday at 18:30 at the Jardinets de Gràcia in Barcelona. Localized disruptions and a heightened security presence are possible.
Several pro-Catalan independence leaders are set to stand trial on charges of treason, sedition, and misuse of public funds for their involvement in the unsanctioned 2017 independence referendum.
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.
Individuals in Barcelona, and Catalonia more generally, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate localized disruptions and a heightened security presence, avoid all political demonstrations as a precaution, and avoid discussing political subjects in public or on social media.
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