Civil society organizations in Madrid gathered in large numbers on Saturday to express their discontentment towards Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s controversial amnesty deal. Sanchez, who faced a highly fragmented parliament during his re-election as the prime minister, has been criticized by various groups for his political maneuvers.
The protest saw the participation of leaders from the Popular Party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, and Vox, Santiago Abascal, alongside hundreds of thousands of people, resulting in the capital city of Madrid coming to a standstill. The Socialist party, led by Sanchez, secured the second position in the inconclusive July general election. However, by forming alliances with smaller parties, including Catalan and Basque separatists, Sanchez managed to secure another term.
One of the crucial aspects of his deal with the Catalan separatist parties was the grant of amnesty to numerous individuals embroiled in legal proceedings related to Catalonia’s separatist movement over the last decade. This decision, particularly rooted in the failed secession bid of 2017, has garnered significant opposition from critics. The referendum, marred by violence and prohibited by the courts, was followed by a short-lived declaration of independence.
The agreement with the Catalan parties also stipulates discussions concerning the possibility of an authorized independence referendum for the region. However, this dialogue will be conducted within the legal framework of Spain’s Constitution. Sanchez has repeatedly expressed his refusal to allow any vote that could potentially result in the breakup of Spain.
Critics argue that the amnesty deal is a strategic move by Sanchez to solidify his hold on power, even at the expense of trampling on the rule of law. The opposition is particularly critical of the government’s perceived self-interest in the matter. The streets of Madrid have witnessed nightly rallies, organized by far-right groups, outside the Socialist party’s headquarters. Unfortunately, several protests have escalated into violent clashes between the protestors and law enforcement.
Vox leader Santiago Abascal, a prominent figure in the protest, declared his party’s continued support for all demonstrations that oppose what he refers to as an “unconstitutional pact” resulting in a government born from a “coup d’etat.” Exhibiting the gravity of the situation, a group of retired right-wing generals released a manifesto, urging those responsible for upholding the constitutional order to dismiss the prime minister and call for fresh elections.
Despite the divergent voices and intense opposition, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez remains steadfast in his resolution to maintain the unity and integrity of Spain. While concerns persist regarding the consequences of the amnesty deal, the situation continues to unfold with fervent voices on both sides of the debate.
1. What is the purpose of the protest in Madrid?
The protest aims to denounce Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s controversial amnesty deal.
2. Which political parties joined the protest?
Leaders from the Popular Party and Vox participated in the protest.
3. Why is the amnesty deal controversial?
Critics believe that the amnesty deal is a political maneuver by Sanchez to solidify his power, disregarding the rule of law.
4. What was the referendum in 2017 about?
The referendum in 2017 sought to establish Catalonia’s secession from Spain but was declared illegal by the courts.
5. What did the retired right-wing generals call for in their manifesto?
The manifesto urged those responsible for upholding the constitutional order to remove the prime minister and call for new elections.