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PROTESTS

Roads blocked between France and Spain by Catalan separatist protesters

Catalan separatists have blocked traffic on two routes connecting Spain and France, on the fifth day of protests over the jailing of nine of their leaders, the transport ministry said on Friday.

Roads blocked between France and Spain by Catalan separatist protesters
Protests have been ongoing in Spain for five days. Photo: AFP

It said the demonstrators cut the AP7 motorway at La Jonquera near the city of Gerona in eastern Spain as well as the N-II road near the border.

The action followed a fourth night of violence in Barcelona, in which the separatists burned barricades and clashed with police.

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Hundreds of young protesters chanting “independence” set fire to improvised roadblocks in the centre of the city late Thursday, tossing Molotov cocktails at police, who responded by firing foam and anti-riot rounds, according to AFP correspondents.

The separatists have called a general strike and a mass rally on Friday against the Supreme Court's decision to jail nine of the separatist leaders for their role in a referendum banned by Madrid and a short-lived declaration of independence.

The court's decision has thrust the Catalan dispute to the heart of the political debate ahead of Spain's November 10 general election, its fourth in as many years.

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PROTESTS

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

Students blockaded five schools in Paris on Tuesday to demonstrate their political concerns ahead of the second round of the Presidential elections on Sunday.

Students blockade Paris schools in election protest

In addition to the five blockaded lycées, the université Paris 8 in Saint-Denis was closed “for security reasons”.

The students – who are too young to make their voices heard at the ballot box – were protesting against the options available to voters in the second round – where incumbent Emmanuel Macron takes on far-right leader Marine Le Pen – and follows earlier student protests at the Sorbonne.

Many were demonstrating in protest at what they saw as inadequate policies on climate change and social issues from both candidates in the final round of voting, as well as the lack of choice for the electorate.

“It is a continuation of what happened at the Sorbonne,” one student told AFP. “We want a third social round, because the two candidates qualified for the second round have no social or ecological programmes. 

“We want to give a new breath to this Fifth Republic a little at the end of the race.

“We are fed up with the fascist state. We are here against Marine Le Pen, against fascism, for the climate and against capitalism,” another student at the lycée Louis-le-Grand in the capital’s fifth arrondissement said.

“We have blocked all the entrances. We will stay there as long as possible.”

About 100 students blockaded the prestigious school. Some students chant slogans against the “Front National” – the former name of second-round candidate Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National party.

The blockades ended peacefully at the end of the day.

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