International Women’s Day strike prompts traffic disruption
Feminist protesters set up dawn road blockades, which have now cleared, while the delays continue on the Barcelona metro
The second annual women’s general strike began in earnest on Friday morning, with the first interruptions noticeable on transport routes.
The protests temporarily affected a number of road traffic hotspots in Barcelona, including Avinguda Diagonal and Avinguda Meridiana, two of the main thoroughfares through the city, where activists had set up dawn blockades.
Catalan police started to clear the barricades at 8am.
In Manresa, the committee for the day of action denounced the "disproportionate" actions of the Catalan police at some pickets. At the FUB university, Mercadona, and the Santa Anna industrial estate, around 300 people demonstrated to stop "normal activity" taking place.
The Manresa committee said that Catalan police officers restrained protesters. "We feel assaulted, they've used a completely disproportionate level of force."
Waiting times for the metro are higher than normal, with services running at 50% at peak hours and at 25% for the rest for the day, while buses are almost running as usual, according to Barcelona Metropolitan Transport (TMB).
Early on Friday morning in Girona, a group of protesters managed to cut off the southern entrance to the city for around an hour.
Day of action
Hundreds of thousands of women are expected to strike throughout International Women’s Day, culminating in the evening with a series of marches in cities across Catalonia and Spain.
The activists are aiming to highlight the impact of women in the workplace, as well as reclaiming some of the time they have lost on the ‘invisible’ work, such as housework, that recent reports show still overwhelmingly falls on women.