Protests and heavy police presence to greet Spanish monarch as he visits Barcelona
Human chain outside Estació de França station with the slogan "Catalonia has no king"
Several protests took place on Friday morning from 10am in Barcelona's center against the King of Spain's visit to Barcelona.
Hundreds of people took part in a human chain with each participant keeping the safety distance starting at Estació de França train station – where King Felipe is expected to attend an event – and extending to the Christopher Columbus monument at the bottom of La Rambla.
The demonstration was organized by several political parties and pro-independence civic organizations, including ANC, who want to make clear that "Catalonia has no king."
In parallel, the also pro-independence CDR group activists began gathering at Arc de Triomf, some 500 meters away from Estació de França, to also show their rejection of the monarch.
This rally was expected to begin in the crossroads between Comerç street and Marquès d'Argentera avenue, but a heavy police presence blocking the whole area surrounding the station led the CDR members to move their protest.
Indeed, dozens of Catalan police vans prevented protesters from approaching the area, and also protected the Ciutadella Park, where the Catalan parliament is located.
At 10.30am, when Felipe arrived at the venue joined by the Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, the rally-goers booed them loudly. Yet, the police managed to keep them separated from the officials at all times.
"Catalonia has no king," "independence" and "The first of October [2017 referendum], we do not forget, we do not forgive" were some of the chants heard in the demonstration.
Protesters entered station
The rally was peaceful at all times and only one minor incident was reported: around midday, once the economic events attended by Spain's two top authorities ended and they had left, the cordon around the station was dismantled and a few dozens of protesters entered the venue and managed to reach the train platforms.
Shortly afterwards the police gained control of the situation and began to identify some of them, holding them for questioning but only for a few minutes.