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Strike for ousted Catalan leaders fails to gain traction

By
Sara Shayanian
A Catalan flag is seen blocking a road during a strike in Odena, Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday. Photo by Susana Saez/EPA
A Catalan flag is seen blocking a road during a strike in Odena, Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday. Photo by Susana Saez/EPA

Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A general strike in Spain Wednesday to protest the jailing of former Catalan officials -- including leader Carles Puigdemont -- failed to gain traction.

As many as 60 roads were blocked by protestors in Catalonia, causing heavy traffic jams and delays in main access routes in Barcelona.

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The strike, called by the smaller Intersindical-CSC union, doesn't have the backing of two of Spain's largest general worker unions -- the CCOO and the UGT. Together, they make up 85 percent of all union members in Catalonia.

About 500 people stood on train tracks at a station in Girona, which houses the high-speed train link between Barcelona and France. About 85 percent of Metro services in Barcelona ran despite protests. Bus services, for the most part, were running a normal schedule.

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More in the education and public broadcasting centers took part in the strikes, with around half of Catalonia's schools and universities reported closed.

Operations in Barcelona's high-traffic port area, other major industrial areas and most stores and restaurants were also open -- highlighting an overall lower level of support than prior pro-independence strikes.

The Mossos D'Esquadra, the region's local police force, was tasked with physically removing protesters from roads.

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A poll conducted by the Center for Sociology Research last month showed nearly 30 percent of respondents identified Catalonia's bid for independence as the second most pressing issue -- behind unemployment, which is at 66 percent.

In surveys before June, Catalonian secession never ranked anywhere above 2 percent.

Catalonia's pro-independence referendum vote ultimately led to Madrid taking control and placing the region's ousted leaders in pre-trial custody on charges of sedition and misusing public funds.

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