Thousands of pro-Catalan independence protesters gathered at Barcelona's El Prat Airport (BCN) on Monday, October 14, causing 110 flight disruptions on Monday and a consequent 45 flight cancelations on Tuesday, October 15. Several hundred travelers were reportedly stranded at BCN on Tuesday. A representative of the airport's operator said that no delays or cancelations were planned for Wednesday, October 16. However, further flight delays and cancelations are still possible as additional demonstrations are expected over the coming days.
Protesters blocked several roads and highways on Tuesday, and clashed violently with riot police. Officials have announced that six activists have been arrested, while 170 people - including 40 police officers - have been injured in the protests. Additional protests are scheduled in Catalonia region over the coming days. Students are slated to hold a 72-hour strike starting on Wednesday, October 16, including protests on Thursday, October 17, starting at 12:00 (local time) in Barcelona at Plaça de la Universitat, Tarragona at Plaça de la Imperial Tàrraco, and in Girona at Plaça del 1 de Octubre. Another protest is scheduled on Friday, October 18, at Barcelona's Plaça de la Universitat as of 12:00. On Friday, the Intersindical-CSC and the Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya (IAC) unions have scheduled a protest at the Supreme Tribunal of Barcelona; the time of the planned protest was not immediately announced.
A heightened security presence and lingering transportation disruptions are to be expected over the coming hours in Barcelona; associated demonstrations throughout the region may result in disruptions to transportation and business over the coming days. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Protests have been ongoing since October 1, to mark the two-year anniversary of a failed independence referendum scheduled in Catalonia in 2017. Several Catalan activists were put on trial for their involvement in the referendum, which Madrid deemed illegal. On October 14, the Supreme Court sentenced nine of them to between nine and 13 years in prison, prompting mass protests in Barcelona and other cities across Catalonia.
Individuals in Catalonia, and traveling via BCN, are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, confirm their flight reservations, anticipate delays and cancelations, plan additional travel time, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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