Barcelona staff and players to join Catalonia in region-wide strike on Tuesday

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Barcelona staff and players to join Catalonia in region-wide strike on Tuesday

Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu attends a news conference at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain October 2, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Barcelona players and staff will join in the strike called across Catalonia on Tuesday after violent clashes between police and independence referendum voters on Sunday.

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The region, that includes Barcelona football club, held a referendum on Sunday that Spanish authorities attempted to break up.

The strike is being held in protest to the police methods used as authorities forced their way into polling stations and fired rubber bullets into crowds in an attempt to stop Catalonians voting.

A statement from Barcelona read: ‘FC Barcelona joins the country wide strike called for by Table for Democracy and therefore the club will be closed tomorrow.

‘None of the professional teams or the youth teams at FC Barcelona will train tomorrow.’

After a day of unrest, Barcelona played their La Liga game against Las Palmas on Sunday in an empty stadium after La Liga refused their request to have the match postponed.

Barcelona won the game comfortably, but explained after the result the decision to play in an empty Nou Camp was a protest against police intervention.

Barcelona, Spain – October 1, 2017 Barcelona’s Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique before the match REUTERS/Albert Gea

The players did not want to play the game, but Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu believed the image of the Spanish giants playing in an empty stadium would be more powerful than to postpone the match.

Defender and long-time Catalonia independence supporter, Gerard Pique, was visibly emotional after the game.

The Barcelona legend even confirmed he would be ready to walk away from playing for Spain after offering his support for Catalonia independence.

“I go to play with the (Spanish) national team because I believe in democracy and there are a lot of people in Spain who don’t agree with what has happened today,”Pique told Spanish TV.

FILE, In this Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 photo Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Las Palmas is played at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

‘The person who goes with the national team, isn’t the most patriotic, you have to go and perform to your maximum. It’s not a competition of patriotism, it’s about going and giving all you can to win – that’s how I understand it.
“If anyone in the federation believes I should not be there, I will step aside.”

Pique is due to link up with the Spanish team this week with intentional fixtures kicking off this weekend.

Spain play Albania on Friday in a World Cup qualifier with Pique in line to make his 92nd appearance.
The majority of Barcelona players would not have trained on Tuesday regardless of the strike due to their international duties.