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PROTESTS

Crisis in Catalonia: Barcelona braced for new wave of protests

Further protests are planned across Catalonia this weekend and in the run up to the general election on November 10th.

Crisis in Catalonia: Barcelona braced for new wave of protests
Photo: AFP

The group behind the recent violent protests in Barcelona called for five further days of protests to cause maximum disruption in the run up to Spain’s general election.

Tsunami Democràtic, the mysterious organization that used social media to mobilize crowds across Catalonia in protest at the sentencing of Catalan separatist leaders announced five dates of action during November and December.

READ MORE: Catalonia: Who are 'urban guerillas' behind the protests?

Using Twitter to make the announcement, Tsunami Democràtic, called for a nationwide protest across Spain on November 9th, one day before the country goes to the polls for a general election.

The group also called for action on November 11th, 12th and 13th but said it would be a “surprise”.

The final date of December 18 is when Real Madrid meet Barça in the rescheduled Clasico match, after the game was postponed last weekend during the protests.

This weekend will also see demonstrations in Barcelona.

On Friday evening at 7pm in Plaza Universitat, a protest has been called in support of students and the Catalan youth under the slogan: “If you touch our youth, you will find us on the streets. Freedom for political prisoners”.

On Saturday, October 26 in Barcelona’s Plaza de Sant Jaume, a group called “Hablamos” are calling for “dialogue and a solution to the Catalan conflict”.

Later that day, at 5pm, the  Assemblea Nacional Catalana (ANC) an organization that seeks the political independence of Catalonia, are planning a demonstration on the Marina de la Carrer, “to march for independence”.

The Referendum Defense Committees, (CDR), neighborhood groups set up in Catalonia to demand independence, continue to stage demonstrations across Catalonia with the slogan “we will continue on the street until there is no one left in prison”.

For the latest updates on disruption caused to  public transport, roads and public places follow the Catalan emergency services Twitter feed.

 

Since the escalation of tensions following the controversial sentencing of the Catalan leaders, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) continue with a travel advice warning that  “further gatherings and demonstrations are likely to take place” and that visitors “should exercise caution in the vicinity of demonstrations as they may occur with little or no warning”.

This warning is echoed by the US Department of State, which advises visitors to “avoid the areas of the demonstrations”, “be aware of your surroundings”, “keep a low profile” and “notify friends and family of your safety”.

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ENVIRONMENT

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?

Around 10,000 people demonstrated against the expansion of the El Prat airport in Barcelona on Sunday.

Why has the expansion of Barcelona airport prompted mass protests?
People march during a demonstration against the expansion of the Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Several ecological and agricultural organisations, have demanded that the expansion be stopped due to the fact nearby wetlands and farms would have to be destroyed.

The demonstration took place on Calle Tarragona in the Catalan capital between Plaça d’Espanya and Plaça dels Països Catalans.

The protests still took place, even though last week, Spain suspended the €1.7 billion airport expansion project, citing differences with the Catalan government, after president Pere Aragonès said he wanted to avoid destroying La Ricarda lagoon, a natural reserve next to the airport. 

Environmentalists decided not to call off the march, in case plans for the airport expansion still went ahead.

READ ALSO: Six things you need to know about Barcelona airport’s €1.7 billion planned expansion

Political representatives from ERC, En Comú Podem and the CUP also attended, as well as the leader of Más País, Íñigo Errejón; the Deputy Mayor for Ecology of the Barcelona City Council, Janet Sanz, and the Mayor of El Prat de Llobregat, Lluís Mijoler.

People from neighbourhoods across the city marched towards Calle Tarragona and could be seen holding placards that read Nature yes, airport no and shouting slogans such as “More courgettes and fewer planes” and “Fighting for the climate, health, and life”. 

One of the largest groups of people were those from El Prat de Llobregat, the municipality which is home to the airport, who were led by tractors. 

People march during a demonstration against the expansion of Barcelona-El Prat airport. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

In addition to protesting against the expansion of the El Prat airport, people were also demonstrating against the Winter Olympic Games in the Pyrenees and extensions to airports in Mallorca and Madrid. 

A representative of Zeroport, Sara Mingorría said “We are here to defend not only La Ricarda, but the entire Delta”. 

The philosopher Marina Garcés also argued that the expansion of the airport would mean “more borders, more mass tourism, more control and more precarious jobs.” 

The leader of the commons in the Catalan parliament, Jéssica Albiach, who also attended the protest, asked the PSOE for “coherence”: “You cannot be passing a law against climate change and, at the same time, defend the interests of Aena [the airport operations company]”, she said. 

She also urged the leader of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, to “definitely say no. 

If the airport expansion in Barcelona goes ahead, environmentalists say that CO2 emissions would rise by a minimum of 33 percent. These levels would surpass the limits set by the Catalan government’s climate targets.

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