On Friday, 51 people were injured after Catalonian protesters clashed with Spanish security forces while agitating against the weekly meeting of Spanish cabinet that was being held in the Catalan capital of Barcelona. According to reports, thousands hit the streets across Catalonia. The protesters took out marches and blocked major roads. In many places, they clashed with the police. As many as 30 police officers were among those injured. On Friday evening, tens of thousands demonstrated in central Barcelona under the slogan “Bring down the regime”.
The call for protests was given by the Catalan National Assembly, a pro-independence grassroots group which was instrumental in last year’s failed push for Catalonia’s secession from Spain. The Catalan National Assembly condemned the current “democratic retreat” and denounced the persecution and repression by the regime. It stressed that activists like Tamara Carrasco and Adrià Carrasco were either in exile or being held in jail by the government, showing that the “undemocratic structures of Franco’s regime remain intact”.
On October 27, 2017, the Catalan parliament approved a resolution declaring independence from Spain. In the aftermath of these events, the Spanish government dismissed the Catalan government and imposed direct rule from Madrid. But in the elections held in Catalonia on December 21, 2017, the pro-independence parties retained their control of the parliament.
The movement for Catalonian independence was formed 96 years ago in 1922. In 1931, the Republican left of Catalonia (ERC) proclaimed a Catalan Republic, subsequently accepting autonomy within the Spanish state after talks with the Second Spanish Republic. But during the Spanish Civil War, General Francisco Franco abolished Catalan autonomy in 1938. After the death of Franco in 1975, the movement was revamped and has been demanding the independence of Catalonia from Spain.