Separatists in Catalonia’s largest city have successfully brought Barcelona to a screeching halt Tuesday with a general strike to protest Spanish government crackdowns after Sunday’s independence referendum.
According to The Spain Report, an English-language news blog, “more than 50 barricades or protests” had blocked major toll roads and motorways used for commercial traffic to and from France. The report also stated:
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 tires—and even two people playing chess on a table in the middle of one motorway–could all be seen blocking roads.
Long lines of lorries 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.
A spokesman for the governing Popular Party, Rafael Hernando, told a radio program on Tuesday that the strike was entirely political and "nothing to do with labor relations or employment".
"It's Nazi-like", he added.
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".
On the current trajectory, Puigdemont could attempt to declare Catalonia an independent republic on Friday. That would be the 83rd anniversary of of the day former Catalan First Minister Lluis Companys made a similar declaration during the Spanish Civil War.
Companys was later executed for committing treason by dictator Francisco Franco.