Published On: Mon, Oct 14th, 2019

Barcelona airport under siege by thousands of protesters | World | News

Metro and train services at Barcelona’s El Prat airport were briefly suspended today over separatist protests after Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine independence leaders to years in jail. Both the metro and train have now resumed, the train operator and local police said. Footage showed police in full riot gear cordoning off dozens of protesters, with some wearing hoods and masks. Airport operator AENA said the airport was operating normally.

Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in a failed independence bid, which triggered protests across the region.

Meanwhile, three other defendants were also on trial for their involvement in the October 2017 referendum held in spite of a ban and a short-lived independence declaration.

They were found guilty only of disobedience and not sentenced to prison.

All defendants were acquitted of the gravest charge, rebellion, but leading separatists were quick to condemn the court’s decision and the jailed men sent out messages of defiance, urging people to take to the streets.

READ MORE: Catalan crisis: FC Barcelona speak after independence leaders jailed

This was a slogan used by separatist supporters who want to hold another referendum.

Protesters blocked train and metro access to the Barcelona airport and others temporarily blocked traffic on the A2 highway.

Several regional roads across Catalonia were also affected, officials at the road traffic agency said.

The regional train network was interrupted in the separatist stronghold of Girona by people standing on the tracks, wrapped in pro-independence flags.

The separatists who were jailed said on social media that they would carry on their fight.

Jordi Sanchez, who was sentenced to nine years in jail, said: “Nine years in prison won’t end my optimism.

“Catalonia will be independent if we persist. Let us demonstrate without fear, let us move forward determinedly from non-violence to freedom.”

Mr Sanchez was the leader of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) grassroots movement.

Protests for Catalonia’s independence have been largely peaceful over the past years but police sources have said authorities are prepared for any violence.


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