22,000 protest against education policies with tension outside ministry
Demonstrations also took place in Girona on first day of five day strike
Mass demonstrations took place across Catalonia on Tuesday as teachers and other education workers began a 5-day strike.
Some 22,000 people took to the streets in Barcelona, according to local police, in protest at education ministry policies, not least a new academic calendar which would mean an earlier start than usual to the next school year.
The rally in the Catalan capital began at 11.30am in Jardinets de Gràcia, before continuing along Diagonal Avenue cutting off traffic.
Protesters then marched towards the education ministry headquarters on Via Augusta, demanding the resignation of education minister Josep González-Cambray.
Tension outside education department
There was some tension as demonstrators approached the main entrance to the education department building.
Above a cacophony of drums, horns, whistles and sirens, protest leaders called for Cambray to come out and explain his decisions.
A handful of regular police officers were joined by around 20 police officers in riot gear, who formed a cordon, restricting access to the building's main entrance.
📽 | Protesters stage a funeral for education in front of the ministry before some scenes of tension are seen with pushes and shoves between demonstrators and police, all the while a brass ensemble performs among the group outside— Catalan News (@catalannews) March 15, 2022
📖 | More: https://t.co/Wdv0Q9CcMC pic.twitter.com/A3GnFQ3uLd
Members of the crowd then staged a mock funeral for education, complete with coffin and a brass band playing Italian protest song Bella Ciao.
As the music reached a crescendo, the tension rose noticeably, with some protesters pushing against police, and police pushing back.
📽 | Thousands of protesters have cut Diagonal Avenue in the center of Barcelona, voicing their anger at the planned changes to the education sector and calling for education minister Josep González-Cambray to resign— Catalan News (@catalannews) March 15, 2022
📖 | Read more: https://t.co/Wdv0Q9CcMC pic.twitter.com/5KXXJcowxM
4,000 protest in Girona
Rallies also took place in other cities including Girona, where around 4,000 teachers and supporters marched through the city center.
Outside the headquarters of the Catalan government in Girona a manifesto was read calling for a reduction in class sizes, more investment in education, a stabilization of temporary staff, and a new agreed curriculum.