>> Pro-independence protesters marching on the streets of Barcelona on Friday giving the middle finger to the Spanish government, which had taken an unusual decision to hold its weekly Cabinet meeting in the Catalan capital.>> This cabinet should not have taken place. A cabinet meeting that needs a thousand policemen in order to take place is not right.
>> 600 police officers were deployed to Barcelona to prevent possible violence, despite calls by jailed separatist leaders to keep the protest peaceful. More than one year after an illegal referendum on a split from Spain, the country's wealthy northeastern region is still bitterly divided. On Thursday, Spain's Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, met with Catalonia's regional leader, Quim Torra.
They both expressed a commitment to dialogue in a symbolic joint declaration to ease tensions over Catalonia's ambitions to split from Spain. But the meeting prompted criticism from the center right opposition People's Party and
who accused Sanchez of humiliation. The Prime Minister's choice of venue for Friday's Cabinet meeting was seen as a show of resolve against full independence, and it angered separatists.
Elsewhere in the region, demonstrators blocked roads. While one man was arrested in central Barcelona carrying materials that police said could be used to build an explosive device.