Catalan protests: Separatists clash with police in Barcelona

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Protesters have clashed with police in Barcelona as thousands took to the streets there and in cities across Catalonia to mark the first anniversary of the contested referendum on independence from Spain.

More than 180,000 demonstrators marched in Barcelona. Police wielding batons broke up a demonstration in front of the Catalan regional parliament. Hundreds of activists occupied high-speed rail tracks for several hours. Roads and a motorway were also blocked.

Catalonia held the vote on 1 October 2017 and its separatist government declared independence on 27 October. But Spain’s constitutional court deemed the referendum illegal and Madrid imposed direct rule. At the time, there were ugly scenes on the streets as Spanish police tried to prevent people from going to the polls.

Read more about Catalonia’s independence movement here.