Separatist marches involving several-thousand people on Wednesday, October 16, set off from several towns in the Spanish northeastern region of Catalonia with the goal of reaching Barcelona by Friday.
Organizers urged them to remain peaceful, like the majority of separatist rallies have been before this week.
READ MORE: Violent clashes erupted in Barcelona and other Catalan towns after Spain’s Supreme Court on Monday handed nine separatist Catalan leaders lengthy prison sentences for their part in an October 2017 effort to achieve independence.
Spain’s government said Wednesday it would do whatever it takes to stamp out violence in Catalonia, where clashes between regional independence supporters and police have injured more than 200 people in two days.
“Everything is prepared and (the government) will act, if needed, with firmness, proportionality and unity,” a government statement said.
It said caretaker prime minister Pedro Sánchez was meeting with other national political leaders and “he doesn’t rule out any scenario.”
Many people in Catalonia have long fought for it to break away from Spain and become a new European country. (AP)