Catalan secessionists block highways, train tracks in strike

Strikers advocating for Catalonia to secede from Spain are blocking major highways, train tracks and roads across the northeastern region.

Thursday's general strike has been organized by unions of pro-independence workers and students. On paper, they are demanding improved social policies including a 35-hour work week and a higher minimum wage but the protests are being fueled by outrage at Spain for putting on trial a dozen separatists who pushed for Catalan independence in 2017.

Catalonia's transit authorities say the disruptions are affecting main thoroughfares in Barcelona and half a dozen major highways and railway tracks elsewhere in Catalonia. Protesters burned tires at one of the highways.

Police officers try to remove burning tires, set by demonstrators to block a highway in protest of the imprisonment of pro-independence political leaders during a general strike in Catalonia, Spain, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (AP PhotoDaniel Cole)

In Barcelona, students and the pro-secession group ANC are holding separate marches later Thursday. ANC's protest slogan is "self-determination is not a crime."