HUNDREDS of protesters took to the streets in Madrid on Sunday calling for disgraced former King Juan Carlos to face justice, a day before he planned to meet his son for the first time since he fled into self-imposed exile.

Brandishing the purple, crimson and gold stripped flag of Spain’s Second Republic and holding signs with slogans such as “Justice” and “the Bourbon in prison”, some 300 demonstrators gathered behind the Opera House in front of the Royal Palace.

The demonstration was organised by thirty associations including the Spanish Communist Party and left wing grouping Izquierda Unida.

In a speech to the crowd, Vanesa Lillo, MP for IU insisted that the ‘Spanish monarchy is totally outdated’ and said the former King Juan Carlos’ visit to Spain was an insult to the people.

She argued “How is that people of a certain family are not equal in the eyes of the law? something definitely has to change”.

The 84-year-old former head of state flew into the city of Vigo on Spain’s northwest region of Galicia on Thursday evening from Abu Dhabi where he has been living since August 2020 following a series of scandals.

He was met by cheering crowds after arriving in Sanxenxo for a sailing regatta where he will stay with old family friend, Pedro Campos.

On Monday he transferred to the capital where he will visit his son King Felipe VI at Zarzuela Palace.

King Felipe And King Juan Carlos Of Spain Cordon Press
Archive photo of King Juan Carlos and his son King Felipe VI. Photo: Cordon Press

The return to his homeland for the first time since he moved to the UAE in August 2020 comes after a judicial investigation into the secret fortune of Juan Carlos was shelved on technical grounds, despite finding that the former king had evaded more than €50 million in tax by failing to declare offshore accounts.

Earlier this year prosecutors shelved three separate investigations into his financial affairs, citing insufficient evidence, the statute of limitations, and the monarch’s constitutional immunity.

In March 2020, Felipe stripped Juan Carlos of his annual stipend and renounced his own personal inheritance from his father in a bid to distance himself from the scandal.

However Juan Carlos is still facing legal action. He is currently being sued in the London High Court by his former mistress, the Danish businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, who claims he used Spain’s spy agency to target and harass her and her children after their five-year relationship ended.


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