Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards demonstrated Sunday at the call from the right to protest against the future amnesty law for Catalan independentists, conceded by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez with a view to ensuring their support to be returned to power .
Perceived by part of Spanish society as an attack on the rule of law, this very controversial amnesty comes six years after the attempted secession of Catalonia (north-east), which in 2017 constituted one of the worst crises policies of contemporary Spain.
In total, several hundred thousand demonstrators took to the streets of 52 major cities in the country at midday to say “no to amnesty”, to the call of the Popular Party (PP), the main formation of the right-wing opposition, according to figures from several prefectures collected by the Spanish media.
“We will not be silent until there are new elections,” warned its leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, during his speech in Madrid.
Demonstrators confront members of the police force during a rally organized by far-right and right-wing movements near the headquarters of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) in Madrid, November 11, 2023 © AFP – OSCAR DEL POZO
This mobilization “goes well beyond the popular party”, added the man who came first in the legislative elections of July 23 but failed to be invested as Prime Minister, due to lack of sufficient support in Parliament.
In the capital, nearly 80,000 demonstrators, according to the prefecture, formed a sea of red and yellow Spanish flags, on and around the central square of Puerta del Sol, with cries of “Pedro Sanchez resignation” or with signs indicating for example “End regional inequality” or “Sanchez, you are breaking the nation and creating tension.”
– “Behind the backs of all Spaniards” –
(COMBO)Archive photos of former Catalan independence leader Carles Puigdemont (l) and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (d) who reached an agreement, November 9, 2023 © AFP – Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD, Ludovic MARIN
Second in the vote, the socialist Pedro Sánchez is now assured of being returned to power by parliament next week, thanks to the support of deputies from the party of the Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont, the main figure in the secession attempt of 2017 who fled to Belgium to escape legal prosecution.
In exchange for his support, Puigdemont's party, Together for Catalonia (Junts per Catalunya), obtained an amnesty law for pursued separatists by justice, mainly for the events of 2017, as well as the opening of negotiations relating, among other things, to the question of the “recognition of Catalonia as a nation”.
The Spanish right, part of the judiciary, but also certain moderate leaders of Mr. Sánchez's Socialist Party, consider that this amnesty measure goes against the principles of equality and territorial unity and the separation of powers.
Demonstrators hold rosaries in front of members of the police force during a rally near the headquarters of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) in Madrid, November 11, 2023 © AFP – OSCAR DEL POZO
The party of far-right Vox joined PP rallies on Sunday before taking part in demonstrations in front of the headquarters of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) across the country.
In Madrid, Vox leader Santiago Abascal , called for a “permanent” and “increasing” mobilization to avoid the “coup d’état” represented by the agreement between the socialists and the Catalan separatists.
The national headquarters of the PSOE in Madrid has been the target for more than a week of daily demonstrations called by organizations close to Vox. These gatherings degenerated several times this week into clashes between radical activists and the police.
All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2023) Agence France-Presse