Media outlets reported that people lit candles during the protest while unions have said they plan to form a human chain around Nissan’s main Barcelona plant later on Thursday.

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida announced on Thursday the decision to close the plant as part of the company’s worldwide restructuring plan.

According to the Spanish government, the decision to end operations in Barcelona was made despite proposals by the local authorities to keep the plant running.

The closure of the plant, which manufactures pickups and vans, would cost Nissan €1 billion ($1.1 billion), it said.

“We obviously regret this decision,” Economy Minister Nadio Calvino told broadcaster TVE, saying the government will continue to work with Nissan and local and regional authorities “to see how to proceed and maybe look for an alternative solution.”

The automaker reportedly plans to relocate production of the Navara pickup to South Africa. The e-NV200 van will be built at Renault’s plant in Maubeuge, France.

Earlier this month, Nissan denied reports that it was planning to reduce its European presence and focus on the US, China, and Japan.

Workers have been staging protests since early May after the company only partially resumed production following what was then a temporary shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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