Catalan riot Police officers remove a protester while breaking a road block during a protest against a Spanish Government meeting in Barcelona, Spain, Dec. 21, 2018. Catalan authorities say pro-independence protesters angry about Spain's Cabinet holding a meeting in Barcelona have blocked streets and major roads, disrupting traffic to and from the city.(AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

The Latest: Peaceful Catalan protesters upset by scuffles

December 21, 2018 - 7:29 am

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — The Latest on Spanish Cabinet meeting being held in Barcelona (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Scuffles between radical separatist protesters and police as Spain's prime minister met with his cabinet in Catalonia's capital are angering some peaceful pro-independence supporters.

The Mossos d'Esquadra regional police says that seven people have been arrested Friday for clashes with anti-riot agents or disturbing public order. The police force said in a tweet that one of the protesters was found with material to make Molotov cocktails, which create small explosions.

A TV channel journalist was also attacked by some protesters, the Intereconomia channel said in footage distributed online.

Grassroots separatist groups and unions had called the protests to show their disgust at Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's cabinet visit.

Retired salesman Romualdo Sedo, who displayed a yellow ribbon pin in support of jailed separatist politicians, says he wants things to be "resolved in a peaceful way."

"I am not with those who cover their faces," he said, "even if there are protesting the same thing I am."


10:30 a.m.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Spanish Cabinet members have arrived in a central Barcelona palace for a weekly Cabinet meeting that has been moved to the Catalan capital despite separatists' protests against it.

Sanchez's Socialist administration planned the meeting to convey an image of normalcy, but tension remains high in Catalonia despite progress in talks on Thursday with the pro-secession president of the northeastern region.

Some scuffles have broken out on Friday in central Barcelona between pro-independence protesters trying to reach the venue of the Cabinet meeting and police trying to stop them.

The regional Mossos d'Esquadra police force says that one protester has been arrested for public disorder near the headquarters of Spain's National Police in a downtown avenue.

The meeting normally takes place in Madrid, but Sanchez has vowed to take it to other Spanish cities as a gesture of commitment to decentralization.


7:40 a.m.

Catalan authorities say protesters angry about Spain's Cabinet holding a meeting in Barcelona have blocked a major highway and dozens of roads, disrupting traffic to and from the city.

Pro-independence protesters called the protests to show their disgust at Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's decision to lead the weekly Cabinet meeting in Barcelona.

Security in the prosperous northeastern region, normally in the hands of the Catalan police, has been reinforced with hundreds of anti-riot officers from Spain's national police force.

Sanchez has agreed with the pro-secession leader of the region, Quim Torra, to work on finding a solution to the political crisis that has festered since Catalonia's failed secession attempt last year. Their meeting on Thursday was only the second since both took power earlier this year.

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