(CNN)Angry protesters have now gathered in multiple Spanish cities for five consecutive nights, demonstrating over the dramatic arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel earlier in the week.
Thousands gathered in Barcelona on Saturday, including families and elderly protesters at the city's Plaça Universitat, where a rally began peacefully.
After passing another square, called Plaça Urquinaona, police began beating protesters, Berta Galofré Pons, a 23-year-old political scientist, told CNN. Footage from the Barcelona protests on Saturday shows multiple scuffles between demonstrators and police.
Mossos d'Esquadra -- the Catalan police force -- said in a tweet that they rerouted the protests and that a group of demonstrators split from the main crowd, attacking the Barcelona stock exchange before vandalizing and looting shops.
This group burned motorcycles and erected barricades before firefighters arrived on the scene, said officers.
Mossos arrested 34 people on Saturday, taking the total for the week close to 100.
Hasel himself was detained on Tuesday after Catalan riot police stormed Lledia University, near Barcelona, where the rapper and his supporters had barricaded themselves in.
Video from the arrest shows the defiant rapper shouting: "You will never defeat us! You will never overcome us, we will resist until we are victorious."
Hasel had until February 12 to hand himself in to police after Spain's Supreme Court in May 2020 upheld a lower court's conviction in March 2018 against the rapper, whose full name is Pablo Rivadulla Duro.
The conviction was for supporting terrorism, and also for libel and slander against the Spanish monarchy, through his social media messages, according to a copy of the court's sentence and a Supreme Court press office statement. He was sentenced to nine months in jail.
The Spanish government announced last week that it would remove prison terms for offenses involving freedom of expression, however it is not clear when the changes will be made.
Hasel's Twitter account has been silent since it posted Tuesday that he would be jailed imminently.
"How can you put someone in prison for expressing their ideas?" Galofré said when asked why she was in attendance on Saturday night.
"I do not agree with lootings, and there are always people who will take advantage of social movements to cause chaos," said Galofré. "The protests were peaceful until the police intervened."
In Galofré's hometown of Sabadell, a city north of Barcelona, demonstrations were passive and without incident, she added.
A much smaller demonstration took place in the Spanish capital Madrid, where around 100 people chanted for Hasel's freedom.
Five nights of protests
Joan Colet, a 16-year-old student, was protesting at Plaça de Catalunya Saturday night and saw people some split from the main rally group and begin looting.
"A lot of people are taking advantage, they are not here to protest," he told CNN. "They have different motives."
Police beat some demonstrators with truncheons and fired foam balls at others, said Colet, adding that the barricades protesters set up were for protection.
"We are tired of people going to prison for just writing something on social media," he said. "This is about the liberty of Pablo, but also Spanish liberty and free speech."