Pro-independence activists set for three-day protest at French border

The AP-7 highway has been blocked affecting those trying to cross, especially truck drivers

Truck drivers are those most affected by the action (by Xavier Pi)
Truck drivers are those most affected by the action (by Xavier Pi) / Oliver Little

Oliver Little | Barcelona

November 11, 2019 05:39 PM

Protests have begun in the wake of the November 10 Spanish general election, as pro-independence activists have been led by organization Tsunami Democràtic to block the AP-7 highway at the France-Catalonia border. 

The pro-independence organization, who were behind the blockade of Barcelona airport immediately after the release of the verdict to the Catalan Trial, in which nine of the independence leaders were given lengthy jail sentences of 9-13 years for their role in the 2017 referendum, have urged for a ''massive'' three-day protest.

Through social media outlet Telegram, the group encouraged followers to take days off work, and to bring food, tents, sleeping bags. They are preparing to be at the border for the next three-days. There is even a large music stage that has been set up in the middle of the highway, as well as kitchen facilities and toilets. 

Tsunami Democràtic are saying that the blockage represents a ''new paradigm'' that puts a ''new form of civil disobedience'' on the table. They also warn Spain that without sitting and talking to resolve the conflict, ''the isolation will grow larger.''

Drivers criticize road block

It is believed that more than 20,000 trucks have been affected by the blockade, which is described as ''the main output of Spanish exports to the rest of the European Union.''

Truck drivers trying to cross the border have been forced to either park in car parks, which are now full, or circulate around the national road N-II, since they cannot cross at the AP-7 border. 

Many of the drivers have openly criticized the move, since, whilst cars can circulate around the N-II towards Pertús, carriers cannot. Tangerine-transporter Gerardo Bruts has said that the protests are ''delaying our work,'' whilst another truck driver has described the move as a ''waste of time and money.''

Road chaos caused by blockade

Travellers looking to cross the border have had trouble doing so, with a traffic jam of around 20km on the Catalan side of the border, and 14km on the French side, believed to have formed towards the highway. 

On the French side of the border, some of the cars have been removed by tow trucks as instructed by French police.

The Spanish Confederation of Goods Transport has also warned that the economy could in fact take a hit, since 85% of consumable goods are transported into Catalonia by road, and that if the blockade is maintained, the products will ''not reach consumers,'' or they will arrive damaged.

It is subsequently believed that the sector will lose €15 million per day

According to director of communications of the Spanish Confederation of Goods Transport, Dulsé Díaz, the subsequent drop in sales would have a ''very damaging effect on the economy, especially for exports.

He also criticized that some drivers had been ''kidnapped,'' saying that the Generalitat and the Spanish government had not given the goods transport sector enough credit for the ''importance it has.''

''Everyone must have the freedom to express themselves but not at the expense of the freedom of the rest to be able to work and circulate normally,'' he added. 

''We are being held by those who organize these blockades, and we are being abandoned by the administration, which should put an end to these circumstances and not put a country on hold.''