Barcelona mayor's plea for calm as violence continues for sixth night

Barcelona mayor's plea for calm as violence continues for sixth night
By: World News Posted On: October 19, 2019 View: 20

Barcelona mayor's plea for calm as violence continues for sixth night

Violence has erupted on the streets of Barcelona for the sixth consecutive night, after the city's mayor pleaded for calm over the protests.

Protesters in the city have clashed with police every night since Monday - angry with the decision to jail pro-independence leaders for their role in Catalonia's failed attempt to secede from Spain two years ago.

On Saturday, Mayor Ada Colau said that Friday's violence had been the worst so far, and called on protesters to calm down, saying: "This cannot continue. Barcelona does not deserve it."

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 19: Demonstrators gather following a week of protests over the jail sentences given to separatist politicians by Spain’s Supreme Court, on October 19, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Nine Catalan pro-independence leaders were sentenced to varying jail terms for sedition, in relation to the 2017 independence referendum. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Image: Protesters are angry about pro-independence leaders being imprisoned
BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 18: Fires burn following an evening of rioting as a general strike is called after a week of protests over the jail sentences given to separatist politicians by Spain’s Supreme Court, on October 18, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Nine Catalan pro-independence leaders were sentenced earlier this week to varying jail terms for sedition, in relation to the 2017 independence referendum. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Image: Cars have been set on fire in the city

An estimated 500,000 people took the streets in the city on Friday night in a show of support for the pro-independence movement.

The protests soon turned violent as hundreds of masked people surrounded the police's headquarters - with clashes continuing late into the night.

So far, rioters have thrown petrol bombs, acid and concrete at the police, as well as setting hundreds of bins on fire and using nails to damage police vehicles.

Some protesters even threw fireworks at a police helicopter - but no serious damage was caused.

More from Barcelona

Police dressed in riot gear have fought back using rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon while dressed in riot gear.

Officials estimate that more than 500 people have been injured during the violence, including both police and rioters, with 18 people still in hospital. One of them is believed to be in a serious condition.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 18 People move dumpster to mount barricades during a night clashes in the streets following a week of protests over the jail sentences given to separatist politicians by Spain’s Supreme Court, on October 18, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Nine Catalan pro-independence leaders were sentenced earlier this week to varying jail terms for sedition, in relation to the 2017 independence referendum. (Photo by Clara Margais/Getty Images)
Image: Police have been using rubber bullets to repel protesters

According to Fernando Grande-Marlaska, Spain's interior minister, 101 police officers were injured during Friday's violence alone - and more than 250 police vehicles have been seriously damaged during the week's protests.

Mr Grande-Marlaska has asked Catalonia's president to condemn the violence and express support for the police.

Catalan leader Quim Torra has told protesters to stop using violence and respect the huge separatist movement in the region, whereas the vice president, Pere Aragones, criticised the police's aggressive tactics.

Thousands of protesters started a 100 kilometer (60 miles) march on Barcelona from regional cities
Huge protests in Barcelona

Mr Torra used a television address on Saturday to demand a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in order to push his secession agenda and discuss freeing the people who were imprisoned on Monday, saying: "We ask once again the acting Spanish PM to set the date and time to sit with us at a negotiating table.

"Today this is more necessary than ever before."

Mr Sanchez's office responded saying he would enter into dialogue, so long as it is within the law.

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