BARCELONA – Catalan protesters have cut off roads and train tracks on Monday to denounce the Spanish Supreme Court’s ruling to sentence nine Catalan independence leaders to up to 13 years prison for their involvement in the banned 2017 independence referendum.
Thousands of university students demonstrated in the center of Barcelona as student organizations called for “mass disobedience.”
Students carrying banners with slogans such as “Against the repressive sentence, self-determination and amnesty,” “Freedom for political prisoners” and “Against state repression” congregated in front of the headquarters of the Catalan regional government building in Barcelona.
The demonstrators cut to off traffic on main roads of the capital of Catalonia and interrupted a section of services of the municipal tram for an hour, according to the local police of Barcelona.
Some secondary roads in the provinces of Barcelona, Girona and Lleida were also cut.
In Girona, rail traffic resumed after being interrupted for 40 minutes on two provincial lines.
Spanish police and members of the regional Mossos d’Esquadra force deployed to the city’s El Prat airport, where protesters gathered in a bid to disrupt air traffic.
Police prevented people from entering the airport building if they could not produce a boarding pass.
Train services between the city center and the airport were halted on police orders to prevent protesters from traveling to the transport hub.
Authorities were on high alert in the prosperous northeastern region of Spain after the Spanish Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan politicians and activists to between nine and 13 years in jail.
The convicted Catalan leaders were found guilty of sedition – and some for misuse of public funds – for their role in the independence referendum on October 1, 2017, which was ruled illegal by the Spanish judiciary.