Barcelona (AP) - The protests in Catalonia against the conviction of nine separatist leaders to long prison sentences do not stop.

Also on Thursday evening, supporters of the independence movement in the center of the Catalan capital Barcelona set fire to, among other things, dumpsters and tables and chairs of street cafes. There were occasional clashes between protesters and the police. The officials were again pelted with stones and Böllern, as Spanish media reported.

The police were unable to prevent clashes between the separatists seeking independence for the economically strong region in northeastern Spain and right-wing extremists who held a counter-rally. According to estimates by Spanish television, many thousands of independence activists were still traveling after midnight in Barcelona. Demonstrations also took place on Thursday in other Catalan cities, including Girona and Lleida.

It was already the fourth night in a series of street protests and riots after the Supreme Court in Madrid on Monday sentenced nine separatist leaders to prison terms of up to 13 years. In addition to peaceful rallies thousands of supporters of a secession from the region of Spain, there were also riots with dozens injured and arrested.

On Friday, the separatists want to paralyze Catalonia with a general strike. Thousands of participants were also expected in Barcelona on «Marches for Freedom», which in recent days had set off in five cities in the region.

The separatist regional president Quim Torra had first criticized the violence on the night of Thursday. "That has to stop immediately. There is no reason or justification for setting cars on fire, nor for any other vandalism, "he said in a televised statement.

The socialist central government of Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez rejects the demands of conservative forces to re-impose Catalonia, as it did after the independence referendum of autumn 2017.

Report by Spanish TV station RTVE