The Catalan rebellion escalated on Tuesday, resulting in a day of "total stoppage" for the Catalan capital, in which Barcelona metro stations were closed, pickets blocked main roads and civil servants walked out on Tuesday in response to a strike called by pro-independence groups as separatist activists took to the streets of Barcelona to press home their demands for independence after winning an referendum on Sunday which despite a violent crackdown by the Spanish government, saw nearly 90% of the vote cast for splitting away from Madrid.
According to Bloomberg, public transport and shops were closed as demonstrators gathered in the center of the Catalan capital to protest the police violence that marked Sunday's vote and reinforce their demands for a split with Spain. Photographs showed traffic backed up behind protesters on one of the main highways connecting Catalonia with the rest of Spain. Roads are blocked in 48 places in the region, the Spanish traffic agency said.
Regional traffic authorities in Catalonia told The Spain Report on Tuesday morning that more than 50 barricades or protests had blocked roads across the region, including major toll roads and motorways used for commercial traffic to and from France.
Normally busy metro stations in Barcelona were deserted as services were cut back sharply, pickets blocked traffic on Gran Via street and traffic on six major highways in the region was disrupted by protests, Reuters reported. Elsewhere, the response to the strike call was patchy with some shops, supermarkets and cafes open and some closed. The Boqueria market in Barcelona was almost empty. Pro-independence groups and trade unions in Catalonia called a general strike for Tuesday after Spanish police forcibly tried to close polling stations on Sunday after a referendum on Catalan independence from Spain was banned by the constitutional court.
The protests are part of a day of "total stoppage" called by Catalan separatists and backed by the leading trade unions in the region. In images and footage posted online and broadcast on TV3, tractors, students, protestors and tyres-and even two people playing chess on a table in the middle of one motorway–could all be seen blocking roads.
Catalan First Minister Carles Puigdemont said on Twitter that "Today is a day of democratic, civic, dignified protest. Don't let yourself be provoked. The world has seen it: we are peaceful people".
Long lines of trucks could be seen backed up on many motorways. Data from regional traffic authorities showed the largest traffic jam caused by the protest was 10 kilometers long on the AP7 motorway near Girona; another closer to Barcelona was nine kilometers long; a third near Lleida has vehicles trapped for seven kilometers.
In Barcelona, several thousand people gathered outside the central government office and protested in silence with their hands in the air in protest over the riot police charges on Sunday that the Catalan government says injured 893 people in some way.