Catalan students strike in support of referendum

More than 16,000 students flood Barcelona to back October 1 independence vote

Catalan students went on strike on Thursday, taking to the streets in support of the independence referendum to be held on Sunday. The strike was followed by students of Catalonia’s main public universities. In Barcelona alone, around 16,000 protesters joined the main rally, according to local police figures, while organizers claim the demonstration was attended by more than 80,000 people.

The streets were filled with chants of “clear the classrooms, defend the referendum,” and “we will vote” among others.

“We will be doing a political campaign until the last minute,” said a spokeswoman for the student´s union Sindicat d’Estudiants dels Països Catalan (SEPC)  Mercè Terés.

Protesters marched through Barcelona, filling the main road Gran Via and ending up at Sants Station, the biggest train station in the city, where they were asked by organizers to travel the country and rally support for the referendum, distributing flyers and posters.

They were joined by firefighters within the first hour, also showing their suport for the movement. “Without firefighters, there is no revolution,” they chanted to the reply of “without students there is no revolution.”

Student strikes also took part in other major Catalan cities such as Tarragona and Lleida. Around 250 students also congregated outside the train station in Girona to join protesters in Barcelona, while in Tarragona roughly 1,500 students took to the streets in defence of the referendum.