Thousands of supporters of Catalan independence rallied with exiled pro-Catalan-independence leader Carles Puigdemont in Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales department) on Saturday, February 29.
Similar demonstrations are possible in Pyrénées-Orientales department over the near term. A heightened security presence and localized disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected near demonstration sites.
Political tensions in Spain's Catalonia region have been high since a controversial and unsanctioned independence referendum held on October 1, 2017, in which 90 percent of votes cast were in support of independence. Polling was interrupted by the National Police, who reportedly raided several polling stations. Violent clashes between pro-secessionist protesters and national police resulted in 893 civilians and 431 security personnel wounded. The results were ruled unconstitutional and annulled by the central government in Madrid.
Individuals in Pyrénées-Orientales department are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate localized disruptions and a heightened security presence around demonstrations, avoid all political demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.