Thursday, 23 May 2019
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Separatists in Catalonia block roads, rail line

AFP

BARCELONA: Pro-independence protesters obstructed major roads and a high-speed railway line in Spain’s Catalonia region on Monday, one year after a banned referendum on secession marred by police violence.

“Everything began on October 1 and everything goes back to October 1,” the region’s separatist president Quim Torra said.

He was speaking at a ceremony in Sant Julia de Ramis, northern Catalonia, on a stage next to a large black and white banner that read “No forgetting, no forgiving.”

Ten kilometres (six miles) away in Girona, hundreds of activists, many covering their faces with scarves, occupied high-speed railway tracks for around three hours, blocking services linking Figueres, Girona and Barcelona, Spain’s state-owned rail operator Renfe said.

Central streets in Barcelona and Lleida were blocked, as was the AP-7 motorway, south of Barcelona, and A2 linking the city to Madrid, images on Catalan TV showed.

Activists also got into Catalonia’s regional government building in Girona and took away the facade’s Spanish flag, replacing it with a red, yellow and blue separatist flag.

In his speech, Torra praised their actions, saying they were “doing well in putting on the pressure.”

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who is Catalan, said it was up to Torra and the Catalan regional government to main public order.

“We will continue to try to lower tensions…and demand that everyone assume their responsibilities,” he told reporters in Madrid.

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