Police beat Catalan separatists with batons in Barcelona on Saturday after they gathered to protest against a march by Spanish police demanding better pay.

Pro-independence groups organised a Holi Festival in Sant Jaume square so a demonstration in support of National Police and Guardia Civil couldn't take place.

Local Catalan forces charged the separatist demonstrators after they threw powder paint into the air as part of the Holi festival. Police used batons to push back the oncoming separatists and keep apart the opposing groups.

Catalan police officers clash with pro- independence demonstrators Credit: Emilio Morenatti/AP
Catalan police officers try to stop pro-independence protesters on their way to meet demonstrations by member and supporters of the National Police and Guardia Civil in Barcelona Credit: Emilio Morenatti/AP

There then was a standoff between police and the separatists.

Tensions are running high in Spain's northeastern Catalonia ahead of Monday's anniversary of an illegal referendum on independence held by regional lawmakers.

The referendum was marred when Spanish national police and Civil Guard officers clashed with voters, injuring hundreds.

Credit: AP
Credit: AP