Nissan workers stage funeral procession through Barcelona to protest plant closures
Employees burn caskets of Japanese carmaker and manufacturers' association officials
Over a thousand Nissan workers have taken to the streets of central Barcelona on Tuesday night staging a funeral procession to protest the Japanese carmaker's decision to close its plants in Catalonia.
Workers carried the caskets of two Nissan officials – Makoto Uchida and Frank Torres – as well one from the Spanish Association of Automobile and Truck Manufacturers and Renault Spain, José Vicente de los Mozos, from the bottom of Via Laietana, along Passeig de Colom and up La Rambla all the way to Plaça Catalunya, where they were set on fire.
Protesters held candles and their cell phone flashlights while blasting music and chanting slogans such as "Si esto no se arregla, guerra guerra guerra" (If this isn't fixed, war war war) or "Futuro para Nissan ya" (Future for Nissan now).
While Nissan has been in Catalonia for 40 years, on May 28 the Japanese carmaker cited low productivity as its reason pulling out in a move that is expected to leave 3,000 unemployed and affect another 20,000 jobs indirectly.
Nissan workers, who have held a total of six protests in Barcelona since the decision was made public a few weeks ago, are set to meet with Catalan parliament speaker Roger Torrent on Wednesday to discuss their situation.
Spanish, Catalan, and local Barcelona authorities have spoken out against the closures and state that they are committed to finding alternative options, although nationalizing the plants is not on the table as had been initially put forth as a solution by far-left pro-independence CUP party.