Spanish police and militant elements in a thousands-strong crowd of protesters clashed in the streets of Barcelona close to police headquarters late on Saturday as a pro-independence demonstration by a direct action group turned violent, Trend reports Reuters.
The protest began around 7:30 p.m. and as the crowd grew to around 10,000, according to police estimates, demonstrators threw a hail of bottles, balls and rubber bullets at officers, TV footage showed.
It was organized by CDR, a pro-independence pressure group that favors direct action and has cut railtracks and roads as well as trying to storm the regional parliament.
Police carrying shields and weapons and backed by some 20 riot vans charged the demonstrators in an attempt to disperse them, splitting the crowd in two along Via Laietana near the police HQ.
Reuters TV footage showed police armed with batons forcing their way through the crowd while demonstrators threw stones and flares. News channel 24h showed police grappling one-on-one with demonstrators, who fell back before reforming their lines.
Police dispersed some protesters through Gran Via, one of the city’s main avenues, where there were some baton charges as protesters ran, setting barricades in places.
Some projectiles were fired.