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BARCELONA (Reuters) – Spain’s authorities disregarded calls on Saturday from Catalonia’s pro-independence regional chief for talks over a wave of violence sparked by the jailing of separatist leaders, as police braced for new protests.

Barcelona saw its worst night of disturbances in decades on Friday as masked youths blocked roads with blazing rubbish bins and hurled rocks at security forces, who responded by firing repeated rounds of smoke grenades and lumber gas.

Catalonia’s president, Quim Torra, acknowledged the violence did no longer replicate the serene nature of the feeble Catalan independence movement and asked for discussions with Madrid.

“We bustle the performing high minister of the Spanish authorities to take a seat down at a negotiating table to chat,” he suggested journalists.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez acknowledged Torra must first unequivocally condemn the unrest.

“Mr Torra must strongly condemn the violence, which he has no longer finished to this level,” Sanchez acknowledged in a commentary, including he additionally desired to build bridges with the many Catalans who finish no longer need secession.

“The authorities of Spain reiterates that the instruct of Catalonia is no longer independence, which is ready to no longer occur on yarn of it is no longer fine and nor finish the broad majority of Catalans need it, nevertheless somewhat coexistence,” he acknowledged.

Protests erupted this week after Spain’s Supreme Court docket handed down prolonged penal complex phrases to nine Catalan leaders for his or her feature in a failed independence bellow in 2017, which integrated conserving a referendum that courts had deemed unlawful.

Radical adolescence neighborhood Arran called for a unique demonstration at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) against “police violence” and to request the “freedom of all political prisoners”.

Police acknowledged they feared renewed confrontations and suggested shopkeepers within town heart to shut all the design thru the stammer.

Independence is a highly divisive field in Catalonia, which is Spain’s wealthiest place and has some 7.5 million inhabitants and its have language, parliament and flag.

An knowing poll in July showed backing for secession at its lowest stage in two years, with forty eight.3% of of us against and 44% in resolve on.

Spain’s performing Internal Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska speaks at a recordsdata conference after conserving assembly with police commanders guilty of the police operation in Catalonia, in Barcelona, Spain, October 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Spain’s necessary events come by constantly refused to shield an independence referendum within the place, even supposing Sanchez’s Socialists come by acknowledged they are originate to dialogue on totally different elements.

HUNDREDS OF ARRESTS

Torra acknowledged earlier this week acknowledged Catalonia might maybe also aloof shield a unique vote on self-resolution inside of two years. On Saturday, he acknowledged the desire of the of us will seemingly be respected: “We are able to head up to now because the of us of Catalonia are searching for to head”.

Some 300 of us had been arrested in clashes that come by flared all the design thru the place since Monday’s court docket verdict.

Spain’s performing interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, defended police from accusations they had been heavy-handed.

“The problem is underneath administration. There is serious, organized violence … nevertheless I reiterate that we’re no longer being overwhelmed,” he acknowledged after visiting injured police in well being facility.

Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau, who would no longer succor the secessionist movement, acknowledged her city “would no longer deserve what we live thru”. Pavements had been torn up and rather a lot of of plastic rubbish bins torched within the unrest, she acknowledged.

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Barcelona is Spain’s 2nd ideal city and attracts thousands and thousands of company every year. Three city roads remained closed on Saturday on yarn of of the hurt, with some foreign company caught unawares by the chaos and unnerved by what they saw.

“We received here and had been be pleased ‘Oh God’. The avenue was on fire in front of the hostel,” acknowledged Flynn Winstanley, 18, a vineyard worker from Margaret River in Australia.

Extra reporting by Jessica Jones in Madrid; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Enhancing by Alexander Smith and Frances Kerry