Barcelona Airport mass flight cancelations after brutal riots
More than 8,000 demonstrators managed to storm Barcelona’s El Prat Airport Dozens of flights have been canceled, leading to air traffic collapse and leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. Some of the passengers also barely escaped the clashes between police and the angry crowds.
Barcelona’s El Prat Airport has become a scene of brutal clashes between the crowds of Catalan protesters and police in riot gear today. Videos from the airport showed officers in full riot gear brutally dispersing the crowds by beating people with batons and pushing them to the ground. Police were seen chasing the crowds at the entrance to the airport as well as fighting the protesters in its hallways.
The Spanish Supreme Court’s decision on Monday to sentence the Catalan officials behind the referendum to between nine and 13 years has sparked a storm of protests in the capital of the wealthy autonomous Spanish province. The court also issued a European arrest warrant for former regional president Carles Puigdemont.
Crowds of people poured into the streets of Barcelona within mere minutes of the ruling. Soon, Democratic Tsunami, a local group in favor of a more active form of civil disobedience, called on tens of thousands of its members to march on the city airport, located 15 kilometers away from the center of Barcelona.
About 8,000 demonstrators managed to get inside the airport, effectively stalling operations at the facility. Dozens of flights have been canceled, leading to air traffic collapse and leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. Some of the passengers also barely escaped the clashes between police and the angry crowds.
Croatian football star Ivan Rakitic, who currently plays for FC Barcelona, was among those caught up in the ordeal; he was seen walking along the highway near the embattled airport.
The clashes at the airport follow mass protests in the Catalan capital itself, which saw some Barcelona streets blocked by demonstrators. Protest rallies have also been reported in several big Catalan municipalities, such as Girona and Lleida.
Tensions between the Catalans and the Spanish central government have hardly subsided over the two years since the ill-fated independence vote, which Madrid declared illegal and invalid, as about a half of the seven-million-strong provincial population still support independence.
eTN had reported about protests in Catalonia for years.