Madrid was the epicentre of nationwide protests called by the conservative People’s Party (PP) and supported by far-right Vox, to protest the amnesty deal struck by the PSOE socialist party and the Catalan pro-independence parties that paves the way for Pedro Sánchez to officially remain in power.
The centre of Madrid saw an estimated 100,000 people, many carrying Spanish flags and with posters reading: ‘Sánchez traitor.” Some demonstrators had posters, handed by organizers beforehand, reading ‘Spain standing up’ and ‘Spain does not give up.’
People’s Party president, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, as well Madrid regional premier, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, and former Spanish Prime Minister, José María Aznar were at the forefront of the Madrid demonstrations in the Puerta del Sol.
Far-right Vox leader Santiago Abascal also attended the demonstration but did not speak from a podium with the PP logo. He addressed media outlets and said that it is necessary to have a “permanent protest” as a response to the “coup d’état” that is taking place in Spain because of the several deals to back Pedro Sánchez in his prime ministerial bid.
The proposed amnesty law, which would apply to hundreds of Catalan politicians and activists who participated in the unilateral effort to secede from Spain in 2017, had already led to a series of violent protests outside the Madrid Madrid headquarters of the Socialist PSOE last week.
Sanchez needs the votes of Catalan and Basque seperatist parties in order to form a new minority government with the left-wing Sumar group.
Feijóo said that Spaniards would not remain silent over the amnesty and announced that the protests would continue: ‘We will not shut up until there are elections.’
‘The office of prime minister of Spain can’t be an object to be bought and sold,’ Feijóo said at the rally. ‘Spaniards want democracy, equality, justice, and dignity. Spain has never sold itself, and [the PSOE] have tried to cover up the fact that they lost. The prime minister of Spain will always be the person that’s won the elections.’
However Pedro Sanchez urged the PP to show ‘good sense’ and to cease trying to stir things up.
‘I ask them to respect the result at the ballot box and the legitimacy of the government we will soon form,’ he said on Saturday. ‘I ask them to be brave and to say no to the bear-hug of the far right, and to abandon the reactionary path that they’re currently following towards the abyss. We will govern for all Spaniards – for four more years of social progress and co-existence.’
The Parliamentary vote to approve the new government could come as early as this Thursday with indications showing that Sanchez could squeeze in with 178 of the 176 needed to form a new government.
If he fails new elections will be triggered and Sanchez own position as PSOE leader in danger.