Massive Protest in Madrid Against Amnesty Law
November 18, 2023
About 170,000 people gathered in Madrid on Saturday to participate in the largest protest to date against an amnesty law that was agreed upon by Spain’s Socialists, aimed at resolving Catalonia’s separatist bid in 2017. This law was crucial for the formation of the current government led by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Demonstrations have been taking place across the country to oppose the amnesty.
The protest in Madrid occurred just two days after Sanchez secured a four-year term as Prime Minister with the support of Catalan and Basque nationalist parties, who demanded the implementation of the law as a condition for their backing.
Protesters flooded the streets, many proudly waving Spanish flags and holding signs that read “Sanchez traitor” and “Don’t sell Spain”. Their main concern is that this law poses a significant threat to the rule of law and the separation of powers, a sentiment shared by four judicial associations, opposition political parties, and business leaders.
Alberto Nunez Feijoo, leader of the opposition conservative People’s Party, and Santiago Abascal, leader of the far-right Vox party, were among the attendees at the march, which was organized by civil groups.
The demonstration was deemed peaceful, with authorities estimating the number of participants to be around 170,000.
According to Spain’s CSIC research council, the amnesty law will pardon approximately 400 individuals involved in Catalonia’s independence bid, including separatists and police officers who clashed with activists during the illegal referendum declared by the courts in 2017. This amnesty will be the largest in Spain since the blanket amnesty during the Francisco Franco dictatorship in 1977, and the first of its kind approved in the European Union since 1991.
While critics argue that the law undermines justice, Prime Minister Sanchez defends it, stating that the amnesty will help ease tensions in Catalonia.
The protest outside the Moncloa Palace, where the Prime Minister resides, did not end with the march. Following the rally, hundreds of individuals took to the motorway, blocking the A6 road for approximately an hour. Although the police eventually cleared the area and the road was reopened, this act of civil disobedience demonstrated the intensity of opposition to the amnesty law.
Similar sentiments were expressed outside the Spanish Embassy in London, where a smaller protest was held.
As public dissent intensifies and protests persist, Spain’s government faces immense pressure to address the concerns and doubts surrounding the newly passed amnesty law. The nation waits to see how this controversial decision will impact the future of Catalonia and Spain as a whole.
Read More of this Story at www.reuters.com – 2023-11-19 03:40:00
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