World

Catalonia strike is muted but protesters block roads, trains

MADRID — A general strike in Catalonia was muted Wednesday, but pro-independence protesters blocked roads and stopped trains in Spain’s northeastern region to protest the jailing of ousted Catalan government officials and secessionist activists.

Big traffic jams were reported on roads leading to Catalan cities, including the regional capital Barcelona, and on major highways.

But the strike wasn’t backed by Spain’s two main unions and wasn’t reported to be having any major effect on industry or in the region’s prized tourism sector.

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National railway operator Renfe said services were halted on dozens of local lines as protesters blocked railway lines.

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Several national high-speed lines were also affected.

Intersindical CSC, a platform of pro-independence workers’ unions, had called the strike for labor issues. But separatist parties and civil society groups asked workers to join the stoppage to protest the Spanish government’s moves against the Catalan bid for independence.

At midday, several thousand pro-independence protesters packed a central square in Barcelona, waving separatist flags and chanting ‘‘Freedom’’ for the 10 people in custody in a judicial probe into rebellion and sedition in the days before and after Catalonia’s Parliament ignored Spanish court rulings and declared independence Oct. 27.

associated press