What started as a strike turned into a major street demonstration in central Barcelona on Tuesday afternoon, with similar protests held in other Catalan cities. Ahead of the Barcelona rally, many shopkeepers had shuttered their establishments amid concerns about turmoil. It was, however, a peaceful and festive affair, in line with previous pro-independence rallies. “We want to fight for independence with our votes, not with weapons,” said David Maya, a 24-year old pharmacy student. “We want to show that what’s not acceptable is the behavior of the police, especially in a democratic country that is part of the European Union.”
Almost 900 people were injured on Sunday, according to the Catalan authorities. The Spanish interior minister, Juan Ignacio Zoido, said on Monday that dozens of police officers also had suffered injuries.
The union representing officers of Spain’s Guardia Civil, or military police, issued a statement on Tuesday warning that the situation for the Spanish police in Catalonia was similar to that in the Basque region in 1981, at the height of the killings by the separatist group ETA.
Crowds of Catalans have surrounded hotels where Spanish police officers are staying, urging their immediate departure from the region, in line with a demand made on Monday by Carles Puigdemont, the separatist leader of Catalonia. Mr. Zoido, the Spanish minister, said on Tuesday that no Spanish police officer would abandon Catalonia.