Police remove protesters blocking AP-7 highway

Tsunami Democràtic called off action on third day of blockades in road linking Catalonia with France, with officers using foam bullets

Image of the police operation to remove protesters from AP-7 highway on November 13, 2019 (by Xavier Pi)
Image of the police operation to remove protesters from AP-7 highway on November 13, 2019 (by Xavier Pi) / ACN

ACN | Salt

November 13, 2019 10:42 AM

The Mossos d’Esquadra - the Catalan police - removed protesters blocking the AP-7 highway in Girona on Wednesday at around 10am.

This happened only after demonstrators stayed overnight on the road for a second night – they had blocked the same highway at the French border the night before until they were removed by Catalan and French officers on Tuesday morning.

Tsunami Democràtic group had called off action on the third day of cuts on Wednesday at 8am, but some protesters continued with the block until they were removed by the Mossos.

The Mossos used foam bullets to drive protesters out of the highway after demonstrators started throwing stones, and the face-off between officers and demonstrators continued in the streets of Salt, near Girona.

Meanwhile, workers began to remove objects that had been used as barricades from the highway.

Protest a ''complete success''

The organization's statement labelled the protest as a ''complete success,'' in particular reference to its international impact. ''The democratic demand of the citizens of Catalonia is not an internal problem of the State,'' it read, stressing that the French police had to intervene in an issue that Spain would like to keep internal. 

The statement also warned that there would not be ''stability'' until the Spanish government listens to Catalans. 

Tsunami Democràtic have said that they are planning more action through their international network. 

Latest post-verdict action after general election

Indeed, this protest, which started the day after the November 10 general election, was the latest organized by the pro-independence group since the verdict of the Catalan Trial was announced, in which nine of the independence leaders behind the 2017 referendum were given lengthy jail sentences of 9-13 years.

Previous action includes the blockade of Barcelona airport immediately after the release of the verdict.

This week protesters had been sent to the highway, instructed to bring food supplies, tents and sleeping bags to camp out for three days. There was even a music stage, as well as kitchen and toilet facilities. 

Protests cause controversy for Goods Transport sector

They spent Monday at the French border and stayed overnight, but caused controversy, with a queue of 30km forming on the AP-7 highway.

Truck drivers were the most affected, causing concerns for the Goods Transport sector as goods could not enter or leave Spain. Those trying to transport goods described the move as a ''waste of time and money,'' believing that the blocks would cost €15 million per day. 

On the second day protesters were cleared from the highway over fears that Spain's economy would be affected. They blockaded the N-II national road for 5 hours near the French border, before they were encouraged to then block the AP-7 highway in Girona, where they would spend the night until clearing the highway by 10am on Wednesday.

Tsunami Democràtic also encouraged a new wave of protesters to block the A-8 highway in the Basque Country at Irun, by the French border.

The protesters remained from 6pm until 11pm on Tuesday evening, creating a 15km queue of traffic. This meant that on Tuesday evening, the only highways linking Spain and France were simultaneously cut.