Several thousand people gathered outside the Barcelona headquarters of Spain’s national police force on October 3 amid strikes in protest of police violence during the contentious Catalonian independence referendum.
According to municipal police in Barcelona, the 15,000 demonstrators stopped traffic, as businesses and schools shut down.
— BreakingLV (@breakinglv) 3 October 2017
Many small businesses across Catalonia have shut for the day. Schools, universities and medical services also closed their doors or operated at a minimum level. Tourist attractions were also closed, including the city’s famous Sagrada Familia church.
Metro stations in Barcelona that are usually busy were deserted as services were cut back sharply, and the Boqueria market was almost empty. Elsewhere, the response to the strike call was patchy: there were no reports of disruptions affecting big industry or Barcelona’s airport, according to the Guardian.
Enormous silence and pain of the Barcelona harbour workers pic.twitter.com/tXliNPZkwc
— Help Catalonia (@CataloniaHelp2) 3 October 2017
The protest came as a result of several labour unions and pro-independence organizations urging people throughout Catalonia to go on strike, including UGT, CCOO and ANC.
The Catalan independence referendum took place on October 1. 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted chose yes. The turnout was 42.3% despite Madrid using police violence in an attempt to prevent the vote. At least 844 people and 33 police were reported to have been hurt during the attempts to stop the vote by the police.
The Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, declared that Catalonia had “won the right to an independent state”, to which Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy replied by denying that the referendum took place.
Puigdemont has appealed for international mediation to help solve the crisis and called for police deployed to Catalonia from other parts of Spain to be removed.
The European parliament will hold a special debate on October 4 on the issue.