Tens of thousands of people, many waving Spanish flags, demonstrated. Sunday at Madrid to the call from the far-right Vox party against a proposed amnesty for Catalan independence activists.
This conflicting issue is being negotiated by the left with the independence parties of Catalonia, a region in the north-east of Spain, to obtain their essential support for the inauguration of the socialist Pedro Sanchez as leader of the Spanish government.
It arose after the legislative elections of July 23, after which the Socialists came in second position behind the People's Party (PP). The latter, without an absolute majority, failed to form a coalition, paving the way for the formation of a new left-wing government.
The leader of the Popular Party (PP, right) Alberto Nunez Feijoo (C) takes part in a demonstration in Madrid against a proposed amnesty for Catalan separatists, October 29, 2023 © AFP – JORGE GUERRERO
But Mr. To be returned to power, Sanchez needs the support in Parliament of the Catalan independence parties ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia) and JxCat (Junts per Catalunya). This latter formation was at the origin of an aborted secession attempt by Catalonia in 2017, the main instigator of which Carles Puigdemont fled to Belgium to escape Spanish justice.
The request for an amnesty, which could benefit more than 4,000 people involved in the events of 2017 – the worst political crisis in decades in Spain – is denounced by the right and the far right and criticized within the party itself. socialist.
The leader of the Popular Party (PP, right) Alberto Nunez Feijoo (C) speaks during a demonstration in Madrid against a proposed amnesty for Catalan separatists, October 29, 2023 © AFP – JORGE GUERRERO
It has given rise to several protest demonstrations in recent weeks.
Sunday's protest in the Spanish capital brought together around a hundred thousand people, according to the authorities, more than 100,000, Vox said without further comment. details.
“Spain is not for sale!”, “No amnesty!” could we read on the signs of the demonstrators who had gathered in the Plaza de Colon shouting “Send Puigdemont to prison!” .
Marcos Carbonell, a 37-year-old engineer, was outraged by Mr. Sanchez's desire to associate with those who want to “break Spain.”
The head of Vox, Santiago Abascal, accused Pedro Sanchez in front of the crowd of threatening Spanish unity and of only seeking an amnesty “to stay in power.”
“What a shame, what an indignity, what betrayal!” he said.
– Other “necessary” measures –
The PP (conservative), the main opposition party, organized its own demonstration on the same day against the amnesty project, which it said took more than 20,000 people share in Malaga, a southern city.
The leader of the far-right Vox party Santiago Abascal takes part in a demonstration he called against a proposed amnesty for Catalan separatists, on October 29, 2023 in Madrid © AFP – OSCAR DEL POZO
“This “Amnesty is not negotiated in the name of Spain, it is negotiated in the name of Sanchez,” PP boss Alberto Nunez Feijoo told his troops, adding that all Spaniards should be allowed to vote on the issue.
This was the fourth rally organized by this party against the amnesty project, after those in Madrid, Toledo (center) and Santiago de Compostela, in the northwest.
Mr. Sanchez, who has sought to calm tensions linked to the separatists since coming to power five years ago, had spoken out in the past against an amnesty.
In 2021, however, he pardoned Catalan separatists sentenced to prison for their role in the secession attempt.
Demonstration at the call from the Spanish far-right party Vox against a proposed amnesty for Catalan separatists, October 29, 2023 in Madrid © AFP – OSCAR DEL POZO
On Saturday, he assured officials of the Socialist Party that this grace had “undeniably” defused tensions in Catalonia.
“Definitively resolving the conflict will make other measures necessary because we cannot leave this wound open forever,” he said. added.
Mr. Sanchez needs the support of at least 176 parliamentarians – out of a total of 350 – to win the vote which must take place before November 27. If he fails, Spain will automatically have to organize new elections which would probably take place in mid-January.
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