Once again, Barcelona is seeing unrest in the streets this evening involving a small number of people: some 500 according to the Mossos d'Esqudra, Catalonia's police force. Earlier, on the other hand, over a thousand times as many people (525,000 according to the city's Urban Guard; 750,000 according to organisers) had held their own peaceful rally opposing the verdicts in the Catalan independence trial. The protest was the central event of the general strike called today by two unions, a success in terms of adherence, with levels higher than those seen on 3rd October 2017, two days after the referendum, according to organisers.
Participants mainly occuped passeig de Gràcia, between Jardinets de Salvador Espriu and Gran Via, where the stage had been set up for the main ceremony. The front row of the march carried a banner reading "For rights and freedoms, general strike".
Joined by the Marches for Liberty
The demonstration was joined by the thousands of demonstrators who arrived this Friday in Barcelona from around Catalonia with the "Marches for Liberty", having left three days ago from Girona, Vic, Berga, Tàrrega and Tarragona. Another had started today from Castelldefels.
Other demonstrators joined directly in the Catalan capital itself, including university students, the sector with the greatest observance of the strike at 90%. In fact, the students have been on strike for three days in total, ending with today's protest in Barcelona.
The front row of the rally started to march at 5:15pm, leading a flood of people down passeig de Gràcia. Shouts of "independence" and "liberty" filled the Catalan capital and made it almost impossible to hear the sound of the police helicopters flying over the city.