OREANDA-NEWS. On October 18, at least 525 thousand people in Barcelona take part in a demonstration connected with a general strike, as the police of the capital of Catalonia reports. People crowded the whole city center. Transport lines are blocked, some metro stations are closed.

Earlier it was reported that five columns will go to the city to participate in the protest rally: from Girona, Vic, Berga, Tarrega and Tarragona.

The head of the Generalitat (government of Catalonia) Quim Torra addressed the protesters with a welcome message on Twitter. “Congratulations to the participants of the March for Freedom, who have crowded the whole country. Thanks very much to everyone who demonstrated the peaceful civil power of the independence movement. We will win and continue to move forward, always forward!” he wrote.

Meanwhile, there are reports that the unrest has begun: garbage containers are burning on the streets of Barcelona. There are also reports about first victims of this evening.

During clashes between protesters and the police on the night of October 18, more than 40 people were injured, and 16 were detained for inciting riots. Since the beginning of this week, more than 200 people who took part in clashes with police officers have been arrested.

Due to the unstable situation in Catalonia, the Royal Spanish Football Federation canceled the match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, which was scheduled on October 26. Clubs have time to choose an alternative date for the match until October 21.

A tension escalation in Catalonia is related to the long prison sentences for several former representatives of the Catalan leadership. They were involved in an attempt to hold a referendum on the independence of the community on October 1, 2017.