Barca join Catalonia strike

October 03, 2017
Barcelona's Sergio Busquets, centre, celebrates his goal during the Spanish La Liga match against Las Palmas at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday. Barcelona's Spanish league game against Las Palmas was played without fans amid the controversial referendum on Catalonia's independence.

Barcelona are joining a strike to protest against the Spanish government's actions in Catalonia's independence vote.

Also, outspoken defender Gerard Pique was jeered by spectators at Spain's training camp in Madrid on Monday.

Barcelona said that none of its professional or youth teams will practise today, and the club headquarters will be closed as a reaction to government attempts to stop the referendum on Sunday. Officials said that more than 890 civilians and some 430 members of the police force were injured.

Girona also suspended practice today, and Espanyol, the other Catalan club in the Spanish league, will have its players undergo physical activities behind closed doors at its training camp.

Pique, who supported the referendum, was booed constantly as Spain practised. He endured chants, sometimes laced with expletives of "Spain is your nation". Some held cards against him, including one that read 'Out Pique'. Policed deemed one of the cards too offensive and removed it.

Pique is often jeered by fans when Spain plays outside of Catalonia.

He was in tears on Sunday after the Spanish league game against Las Palmas as he talked about confrontations between Catalan voters and police, who used batons and fired rubber bullets to try and stop voters across the northeastern region. He criticised police again on Monday on Twitter.

PiquÈ said afterwards on Sunday that if the national team considered him a nuisance, he would have no problem stepping aside. Spain coach Julen Lopetegui has previously defended PiquÈ when the player's loyalty to Spain has been questioned.

Spain is preparing for World Cup qualifiers, the next on Friday against Albania in the southeastern city of Alicante.

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