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BARCELONA (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of demonstrators waving Catalan flags and chanting “Independence!” and “Freedom for political prisoners!” poured into Barcelona on Friday, the fifth day of protests in opposition to the jailing of separatist leaders.

Many of the marchers began their journeys to the city on Wednesday from municipalities across the northeastern Spanish space, after the Supreme Court sentenced nine separatists to as a lot as 13 years in penal complex over a failed elaborate to diminish loose from Spain in 2017.

The sentences put off the worst sustained side road violence Spain has considered in many years, and Friday’s protests, that additionally embody workers on strike, will most doubtless be carefully watched by authorities in Madrid.

“All the diagram through this week, as you successfully know, there admire been violent incidents in Catalonia. They’ve been organized … by groups who’re a minority nonetheless are very organized,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska informed a news conference. “Their actions, as now we admire already stated, will additionally no longer slither unpunished.”

Friday’s marches admire to this point been restful, starting from households pushing prams to cyclists wheeling their bicycles and folk draped within the Catalan independence flag, who took over a dual carriageway lane and assorted necessary roads as they walked in opposition to the Catalan capital. Some in Barcelona stood by the side of the roads, applauding as the walkers arrived.

Protesters walking on a dual carriageway in opposition to Barcelona carried a noteworthy banner reading, in English: “Free Catalan Prisoners Now.”

Several necessary streets in Barcelona had been closed to web tell online web tell online visitors in anticipation of the marches. Regional trains and the city’s metro had been running on a decreased timetable after pro-independence unions called a strike.

Barcelona’s necessary landmark, the multi-spired Sagrada Familia cathedral designed by Antoni Gaudi, became shut down as a result of the protests, an legitimate informed Reuters.

The Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) stated in a commentary on that Barcelona’s Oct. 26 residence match in opposition to Unswerving Madrid, belief to be one of many ideal rivalries within the game, had been postponed as a result of security concerns.

Catalan demonstrators chant slogans in front of La Sagrada Familia basilica at some level of Catalonia’s total strike in Barcelona, Spain, October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Albert Gea

FLIGHTS CANCELED

Barcelona’s El Prat airport canceled 57 flights on Friday, airport operator Aena stated.

Barcelona city hall stated 700 garbage containers had been put ablaze since protests began on Monday and estimated that the city had suffered wound totaling greater than 1.5 million euros ($1.67 million).

Thursday began with largely restful protests as formative years draped in Catalan flags tossed balls and skipped rope. The mood shifted later within the night time, with protesters environment fire to cafe chairs lining the elegant Rambla de Catalunya side road within the coronary heart of Barcelona’s vacationer district.

An legitimate from Barcelona city hall stated around 10 timber had been put on fire on Thursday.

Regional police stated 16 folk had been arrested across Catalonia on Thursday, whereas health officials stated clinical abet became offered to 42 folk.

Carmaker Seat, a unit of Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE), halted production at its plant in Martorell, diagram Barcelona, from Thursday afternoon till Saturday, over concerns that the marches would disrupt web tell online web tell online visitors, an organization spokeswoman stated.

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Barcelona’s wholesale market, MercaBarna, stated visits to its fish sellers had been down 85% on Friday, whereas flower sellers at the market saw 90% fewer prospects.

Pro-independence leaders went forward with a 2017 referendum on independence, despite it being deemed unlawful by Spanish courts, followed by a declaration that the gap became breaking a ways from Spain. Madrid spoke back by seizing preserve watch over of the Catalan administration and putting the ringleaders on trial.

Catalonia’s outmoded chief Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium after the failed independence elaborate, on Friday informed reporters that Belgian authorities had allowed him to live free with out bail after Spain’s Supreme Court centered him with a European arrest warrant.

Reporting by Jose Elías Rodríguez, Clara-Laeila Laudette, Emma Pinedo and Paola Luelmo in Madrid, Andrea Ariet Gallego; Marine Strauss in Brussels; Writing by Ashifa Kassam and Ingrid Melander; Bettering by Andrei Khalip and Toby Chopra