BARCELONA, Spain — Catalonia and its riot-swept regional capital, Barcelona, were paralyzed Friday by a mix of strikes and marches as the northeastern Spanish region endured its fifth day of mass protests over the conviction of independence leaders.
More than 200 people have been arrested and scores injured since separatist sentiment swelled on Monday, when the Supreme Court sentenced to lengthy prison terms nine separatist politicians and activists. The nine had led a 2017 push for independence that triggered Spain's deepest political crisis in decades.
Demonstrations on Friday were mostly peaceful, but police in anti-riot gear clashed in the afternoon with young protesters hurling bottles, eggs and paint at the gates of the police headquarters in central Barcelona. That followed a calm student protest earlier in the day.
Spanish central authorities said that at least 57 flights into and out of the region were canceled for the day due to a general strike called by pro-independence unions.
Picketers also closed off to traffic the border with France across the Pyrenees and burned tires or blocked dozens of roads and highways across the northeastern region.
Commuter and long-distance train services were significantly reduced, and many shops and factories didn't open for business. Catalan authorities said that electricity consumption, a key indicator of industrial activity, was by noon 10.1% lower than at the same time the previous day.
Tourists also felt the turmoil. At least two large cruise operators diverted their ships to other ports, and those which had already docked in the port of Barcelona cancelled the passengers' excursions to the city. Architect Antoni Gaudí's modernist Sagrada Familia also closed its doors due to a protest blocking access to the basilica. (AP)