A strike called across Catalonia by pro-independence activists to protest the jailing of sacked regional politicians shut down roads, causing huge tailbacks into Barcelona while some public transport ran minimum services. As David Pollard reports, it followed warnings from Spanish business leaders that Catalan independence could hurt economy
From political gridlock .... to the real thing. Catalonia lurches into a day of general strike action called by pro-independence campaigners. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) STUDENT AND BARCELONA RESIDENT, ADRIANA, SAYING: "The Republic which has been declared needs to be defended. We need to stay organised and keep demonstrating." But though roads were blocked and travel disrupted, some workers were determined to struggle on. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CONSTRUCTION WORKER, JOSE LUIS, SAYING: "Why should I strike, nobody is going to raise my salary .... Those people on television and the politicians should work more and stop their silliness." With traffic at a standstill, the irony won't be lost .... This is an independence movement trying to regain its forward direction - after its two main parties failed to agree a political deal on Tuesday. For them, getting a bigger majority in December's regional elections is now seen as a tougher test. If the real test will still be for the economy - according to Catalonian business leaders thrashing out the arguments at a forum in Brussels. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ECOFREGO CARLOS RIVADULLA OLIVIA, SAYING: "Wealth is created, productivity is created by being part of a system. And that system is called Spain, that system is the Spanish economy." And though the Catalonian part of it is a bigger economy than Portugal or Finland .... Its debt is relatively miniscule debt compared to, say Greece. While Spain's stock market is still up over ten per cent for the year. SOUNDBITE (English) FOREXTIME GLOBAL HEAD OF FOREX STRATEGY & MARKET RESEARCH, JAMEEL AHMAD SAYING: "People look at it as a domestic problem for Spain. For as long as the European Union has nothing to do with this situation and it looks like the Spanish government will have to watch over it, it will not have that much of an impact on the euro, European economy or elsewhere." Though that could change. As next month's crucial vote gets closer - and tensions rise again.