Thousands of people protested in central Madrid on Saturday against Pedro Sanchez’s government. Demonstrators accused the centre-left cabinet of undermining the constitution. The demonstration was supported by right-wing parties. Prime Minister Sanchez referred to the unrest in the Spanish capital during a socialist rally.
More than 100 groups – including the conservative opposition People’s Party, the centre-right Civic Party (Ciudadanos) and the far-right Vox – called a rally on Saturday under the slogan “For Spainfor democracy and the constitution.” According to local authorities’ estimates, around 30,000 people took part in the protest.
Most people who came to the demonstration organized in Cibeles Square in Madrid brought with them national flags, scarves in the colors of Spain or banners with anti-government slogans. They usually contained slogans accusing the Prime Minister, members of the government and politicians of the centre-left coalition and separatist groups of betraying Spain’s interests and treason.
The banners brought by the demonstrators read: “Sanchez is a traitor”, “The prime minister is lying”, “Defend your people!”, “Let’s fight for our country!”.
Anti-government protest in Madrid
Participants in Saturday’s demonstration demanded, among other things, the Sanchez government’s withdrawal from changes in the criminal law, which, in their opinion, should serve to treat separatist activities leniently. There were also appeals for a tougher stance of the Spanish authorities towards supporters of the separation of Catalonia and the Basque Country from Spain.
Miguel Tellado, the spokesman for the largest opposition party in parliament, the People’s Party (PP), who was present at the protest, accused Sanchez of being too lenient towards the separatists. He demanded that the centre-left cabinet respect the principles of the Spanish constitution.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal, the only party leader to take part in the demonstration, said the government had “trampled on the constitution by locking up Spaniards”. He said this in reference to COVID-19 restrictions.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez he referred to Saturday’s demonstration in Madrid during a socialist rally in Valladolid. The head of government said that the protesters in the capital were defending a “uniform” and therefore “discriminatory” Spain.
Main photo source: EPA/Victor Lerena