At least two people were arrested after clashes erupted between protesters and police in Barcelona on Saturday, October 26. Independence activists had gathered outside the National Police Headquarters for a protest organized by Comitès de Defensa de la República (CDR), during which demonstrators reportedly threw bottles and rubber bullets at officers. After a two-hour standoff, riot police carrying shields charged the demonstration in an attempt to disperse the protesters. No casualties were immediately reported.
Further protests are planned in Barcelona through Sunday, October 27.
The Societat Civil Catalana (SCC), which opposes secession, has called for a demonstration on Sunday. Politicians from Spain's two main center-right parties, the Popular Party and Ciudadanos, are expected to attend the unionist rally. Participants are due to gather at 12:00 (local time) at Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona.
A heightened security presence and lingering transportation disruptions are to be expected over the coming hours in Barcelona and other affected areas; associated demonstrations throughout the region may result in disruptions to transportation and business over the coming days. Counter-protests are possible. 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 that took place in Catalonia in 2017. Several Catalan activists were consequently 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.
On October 15, protesters blocked several roads and highways and clashed violently with riot police. Six activists have been arrested, while 170 people - including 40 police officers - have been injured in the protests.
Individuals in Catalonia, notably in Barcelona, 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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