An estimated 80,000 people have joined the demonstration, according to the organisers although police reports put this much lower at 16,000.
The main University of Barcelona has completely suspended classes in philosophy, geography and history and between 80-90 per cent of classes in all other subjects.
The city’s main university has also been joined by other student institutions such as the UPC and the Pompeu Fabra, while 300 firefighters from the group Firefighters for Independence have also joined the demonstration to the chant of “Votarem” (“We will vote”).
A spokesman for the organisation Universities for the Republic, Jodi Vives said: “It has been the biggest demonstration in the history of Catalan students.
“We believe it has been very good, there are thousands of people who have news of events on all the Barcelona campuses and also from other universities around the country.
“It should be noted that there has been a lot of private universities joining the movement.”
Students in the Catalan capital have also been joined by students in Girona and Tarragona who have also been demonstrating while students in Lleida have been organising a mass street party.
The latest demonstration today comes as part of growing unrest in the north east region of Spain as the Catalan authorities look to be on a collision course with Madrid over holding an independence referendum this Sunday.
The Catalans have hit back as the Spanish Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy has tried to implement a number of measures to prevent the vote even taking place and the Constitutional Court has ruled that the referendum is “illegal”.
The Guardia Civil has taken a number of steps to block people voting, including arresting a number of Catalan officials as well as seizing ballot boxes and voting slips and removing any material relating to the vote.
Madrid has also attempted to seize control of the local Catalan police – Mossos – and ordered them to prevent polling stations from even opening although this has been strongly resisted by the security force.
Madrid has also undertaken a number of legal moves with the High Court investigating the entire Catalan cabinet, led by the President Carles Puigdemont, over a number of charges including civil disobedience and misuse of public funds.
The court is also investigating charges of sedition although as yet no one has been officially named or charged.
Despite the actions of Madrid the Catalan authorities have said they remain resolute that the referendum will take place on Sunday.