From daybreak picket lines formed at toll stations on the regions highways, causing the closure throughout the morning of 47 highways and traffic jams stretching more than 10 kms.
Columns of people converged onto the city centre as the region went on general strike, a police helicopter flying overhead, drawing angry whistles as Catalans reel from the violence that marred parts of the Spanish region on Sunday.
Spain's interior minister on Tuesday accused Catalonia's government of "inciting rebellion" after police sent to the region to block a weekend independence referendum were harassed by protesters.
The National Police headquarters in Barcelona was under seige by crowds held back by the regional police force, Los Mossos.
Police forces stand guard as firefighters raise their hands during the general strike in Barcelona..
A man wrapped in a Catalan pro-independence 'Estelada' flag puts flowers on the gate of Barcelona's Ramon Llull School, which was used as a polling station and was one of those targeted by riot police during the October 1st banned independence referendum
A protester wearing a t-shirt bearing the "Rage, Flower Thrower" artwork by street artist Banksy holds a Catalan pro-independence 'Estelada' flag.
Demonstrators flip ballots as they protest called by CNT union in front of the Catalan Popular Party (PP) headquarters
Demonstrators sport t-shirts reading in Catalan "we are not afraid".
Tourists stand outside the Sagrada Familia, which like many tourists sites in the region was closed for visits during a general strike.
Shops and businesses were closed across the northeastern region, some with signs that read "Closed for revolution".