Third night of riots as president calls for unrest to 'stop now'

Cars, trash cans, trees on fire, with 33 arrested, and 100 injured including police officers after clashes with protesters across country

Spanish police officers running towards a fire in Barcelona's city center (by Blanca Blay)
Spanish police officers running towards a fire in Barcelona's city center (by Blanca Blay) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 17, 2019 09:07 AM

Catalonia descended into a new night of unrest on Wednesday as protesters set barricades on fire, burning trees, trash cans and cars in the city center.

Pro-independence supporters took to the streets for the third day in a row in the country's main cities, including Barcelona city center, to protest the sentencing of 9 leaders for the crime of sedition.

The scenes of riots and chaos were also widespread in major Catalan towns like Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona.

Police sources said that protesters shot five pyrotechnic artifacts against a helicopter, and threw Molotov cocktails, acids, stones and other objects.

Officers responded with rubber bullets and charging at demonstrators, some of which in balaclavas. Some protesters denounced the police had used gas to dissuade them, but the law enforcement denied it.

33 arrested, 100 injured

In all, 33 people were arrested in third night of unrest across the country, including 12 in Barcelona and 11 in Lleida.

Meanwhile, four out of the six of people arrested the previous night in Barcelona were sent to prison without bail for attacking the law enforcement officers.

96 people received medical attention, according to the emergency services, and 24 Catalan police officers were injured, according to police sources – Spain's home affairs ministry says there were 46 Catalan and Spanish police officers injured throughout the day, meaning 194 have been injured during the three days of riots.

One citizen in Tarragona was run over by a Catalan police van and was treated in hospital with traumatic brain injury – the footage of the events went viral.

The firefighters had to take part in some 80 services across the country – some local media outlets say that around 200 trash cans were lit on fire on Wednesday evening only in Barcelona.

As a result, on Thursday morning a number of streets in the capital's city centers were still cut off by the police.

President: "This must stop now"

In the middle of the chaos, at approximately 12.15am local time, the Catalan president Quim Torra made an official statement from the Catalan government HQ to condemn violence and stress that "the independence movement is not and has never been violent". "This must stop now," he said, adding that "there is no justification for burning cars".

Earlier on, Spain's acting president Pedro Sánchez had warned that he would not tolerate "violence taking over Catalonia".

On Thursday morning, president Torra addressed the Catalan parliament to condemn violence again, and said that he had urged the interior minister to investigate if police action went to far.