Severe transportation disruptions have been reported across Catalonia as of Friday, October 18, due to an ongoing general strike and associated protests by independence supporters. Thousands of protesters from across Catalonia are arriving in Barcelona following three-day marches as of the morning (local time).
Train, metro, and bus services are affected on Friday. A 50 percent reduction in bus services, including those to Barcelona's El-Prat Airport (BCN), was reported during rush hour, and a 25 percent reduction is expected throughout the rest of the day. Main roads leading into Barcelona were reportedly closed to traffic. Avenida Meridiana and the Ronda del Litoral within the city were blocked, and Avenida Diagonal was closed to traffic. Protesters blocked roads across Catalonia with burning tires, including the highway leading to the border with France at La Jonquera. Rail services on the AVE remain disrupted as protesters occupied tracks.
Vueling Airlines has canceled around 30 scheduled flights throughout the day.
Independence supporters in Catalonia have scheduled additional protests through Sunday, October 27, amid clashes with police.
On October 20, a protest is scheduled at the Plaza se Sant Jaume in Barcelona at 12:00.
Over 100 entities have scheduled a mobilization in Barcelona for October 26, to protest the Catalan leaders' sentencing. The time and location have yet to be announced.
On October 27, the Societat Civil Catalana (SCC) has called for a large mobilization to call an end to the legal proceedings against the independence activists.
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.
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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