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1 Oct, 2018 09:48

Catalans block roads & railway station on the anniversary of independence vote (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Hundreds of people have staged a sit-in at a train station and paralyzed traffic in some areas of Catalonia as they marked the anniversary of the region's attempt to push for its independence from Spain.

The protests, organized by pro-independence groups known under the name of The Committees for the Defense of the Republic (CDR), hit major the AP-7 highway running along eastern Catalonia on Monday. People brought tires on the road at dawn and gathered behind the self-made barricades. Some were carrying banners reading "neither forgetting nor forgiving" referring to the last year's plebiscite that saw a massive police crackdown against the civilians.

Meanwhile crowds hit Girona station and blocked the tracks. Some 400 people reportedly joined the sit-in, but the railway has been already reopened. The protesters with placards also took to the central streets of Barcelona and Lleida.

It is the second massive rally in two days in the regional capital. On Saturday, a counter-protest against a demonstration in support of the Spanish national police saw dramatic scenes as officers in riot gear hit people with batons. The clashes started after some people from the crown threw paint at the cordon.

The unrest comes exactly 1 year after Catalan independence referendum, which took place on October 1, 2017. Back then the police brutality against those attempting to cast their ballots left nearly 900 people injured. The excessive use of force was condemned by multiple officials and rights organizations.

The plebiscite did not bring the region any broader rights, however, and only infuriated Madrid, who threatened to revoke Catalonia's autonomy and arrested a number of regional activists and politicians. Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who inspired last year's vote, fled to Brussels after being removed from office by Spanish central government. Now his successor, Quim Torra, is trying to push a pro-independence agenda as he vowed in September to take Catalonia's bid for independence "to the end." 

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