On Monday, November 6, demonstrators erected roadblocks throughout Catalonia, including within Barcelona, to demand the release of Catalan separatist leaders detained by the Spanish justice system on grounds of sedition, rebellion, and misuse of public funds.
As of 10:30 (local time), most roadblocks had been dismantled and demonstrators dispersed by police forces. Road traffic has resumed on the majority of affected roads although some disruptions are still being reported, notably around Badalona, Alcanar, and Sabadell. Further protests and subsequent disruptions are possible throughout the day.
Spain was thrown into a constitutional and political crisis after Catalonia held an independence referendum, deemed illegal by the Spanish government, on October 1. Despite the series of logistical and judicial obstacles enacted by the central government to prevent the vote, 42 percent of the Catalan population participated in the referendum, 90 percent of whom voted in favor of independence. Madrid officially suspended the region’s autonomy on October 27 - just moments after the Catalan Parliament unilaterally declared independence - and implemented direct central rule.
Eight former regional officials are being detained by the central government. Meanwhile, ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, along with four other Catalan leaders are currently in self-imposed exile in Brussels. The five were briefly detained by Belgian police after a European arrest warrant was issued by Spain, but were released on November 5. The Belgian justice system has 15 days to decide whether or not to execute the warrants, after which the politicians may appeal the decision. The whole process may take up to three months to unfold, thus allowing Puigdemont to participate in the regional elections scheduled to take place on December 21.
Travelers are advised to allow for extra time to reach their destinations and to avoid all protests as a precaution. Individuals in Catalonia should anticipate heightened security and carry proper identification documents (passport, visa if applicable, etc.) at all times.
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