Barcelona flooded with over half a million independence supporters
President and parliament speaker celebrate turnout
According to the local Guardia Urbana police, 525,000 people have flooded the streets of the center of Barcelona at a pro-independence protest coinciding with the general strike and the arrival of 'Marches for Freedom' from all over Catalonia.
'Marches for Freedom' took off on a 3-day walking journey from various cities and towns throughout Catalonia on their way to the Catalan capital to call for independence and to condemn Monday's Supreme Court sentences for 9 of its leaders.
There were also many students present at today's march, many of whom have been on strike for the past three days.
Pro-independence politicians celebrated the turnout, with Catalan president Quim Torra thanking all those who participated in it.
"Congratulations to the 'Marches for Freedom' that have filled the country! Thank you very much to all of you who have demonstrated the independence movement's civic and peaceful force. We will win and keep on going, always keep on going."
Enhorabona a les #MarxesPerLaLlibertat que han omplert el país! Moltes gràcies a tots els que heu demostrat la força cívica i pacífica del moviment independentista! Guanyarem i endavant, sempre endavant! pic.twitter.com/UlIdXvzBKS— Quim Torra i Pla (@QuimTorraiPla) October 18, 2019
Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent also commented on today's marches on Twitter.
"The citizenry has said that no matter how much prison and repression they impose, democracy cannot be condemned. Today, as on October 3 [during the 2017 general strike], we will go out en masse and peacefully to defend our rights and freedoms."
La ciutadania ha dit que per més presó i repressió que imposin no es pot condemnar la democràcia. Avui, exactament com el #3octubre i tants cops com calgui, hem sortit massivament i pacíficament a defensar els nostres drets i llibertats. pic.twitter.com/4lxLP13HLm— Roger Torrent 🎗 (@rogertorrent) October 18, 2019
While the main march remained peaceful during the day, in the evening smaller rallies on Via Laietana descended into chaos and confrontations between smaller groups of protesters and police officers continued for a fifth night in a row.