For those not up to speed on Spanish politics news, last Monday the Spanish Supreme Court found 12 Catalonian political or social leaders guilty to charges of sedition and misuse of public funds (if you still don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a short but very informative summary from the BBC about the Catalan crisis).
Since the ruling was made public there have been several demonstrations all over Catalonia. In Barcelona these demonstrations have been massive and mostly peaceful, but some of them have ended in major clashes between the protestors and the Mossos d’Esquadra (the regional police force).
Two regional trade unions called for a general strike tomorrow Friday October 18, 2019 protesting the Supreme Court’s ruling, and massive disruptions should be expected all day long in Barcelona metropolitan area.
If you’re arriving to/departing from Barcelona airport tomorrow, you shouldn’t expect demonstrations as the one that collapsed it last Monday, but transportation to/from the city may be an issue. Metro and bus service between the terminals and the city center will be cut to 50%. Taxis may not be an option as road cuts are expected to happen as 5 largely attended “Marches for Freedom” from all over Catalonia are expected to enter the city, blocking the main accesses.
If you’re in town, mobility around the city will be severely impacted. Public transportation service will be cut to 25% (50% on rush hours) and there will be several spontaneous demonstrations during the day. The main demonstration is scheduled for 17h at the centric Passeig de Gracia. With an expected attendance in the rounds of 1 million people, expect Barcelona center to be completely collapsed all afternoon.
As a local resident living in the city center, the past few days (but especially the nights) have been tense with all the sirens and helicopters background noise. Living near to a major government building means, in my case, that all the streets around my house are fortified as if waiting for a battle, and traffic is mostly SWAT teams coming in and out…
Tomorrow’s demonstration will be massive and clashes may happen, but the great majority of those attending will be doing it peacefully. In fact, these demonstrations are usually festive within all the revindications. If you’re staying in the Passeig de Gracia area ask your hotels for indications on how to get around during the demonstration times. If you’re outside the city center, transportation will be your main issue but I wouldn’t expect large crowds outside of the central area.