22 Jan, 2023 @ 12:01
1 min read

Thousands take to the streets of Madrid to demand the resignation of Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez

Demonstration in Madrid
January 21, 2023, Madrid, Madrid, Spain: People raising Spanish flags in the demonstration against the Spanish government led by Pedro Sanchez. The demonstration took place in the Plaza de Cibeles and was attended by thousands of people. (Credit Image: © Alvaro Laguna/Pacific Press via ZUMA Press Wire)

SOME 31,000 people took to the streets of Madrid on Saturday to protest against the Spanish government, and demand the resignation of Socialist Party Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

The demonstration was supported by around 100 right-wing groups, including the conservative Popular Party (PP), centre-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) and far-right Vox. 

The slogan of the rally was ‘For Spain, for democracy and the Constitution’, according to a report from news agency Reuters. 

The crowds assembled outside the central Plaza de Cibeles, where they waved Spanish flags – some of which were the pre-Constitutional version, a symbol that is associated with the regime of former dictator Francisco Franco. 

The speakers at the event attacked the government – a coalition of the Socialist Party and junior partner Unidas Podemos – for its policies and decisions, including measures taken to appease pro-Catalan independence parties and a controversial consent law that has had the unintended effect of reducing prison sentences for some convicted sex offenders. 

The only party leader to attend the event was Santiago Abascal, of Vox. He claimed that the government had ‘trampled the Constitution by locking up Spaniards’, in reference to the strict lockdowns imposed during the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Election year

Meanwhile, the general secretary of the Madrid branch of the PP, Alfonso Serrano, proclaimed that the region ‘will be the tomb of sanchismo on May 28’, which is the date when municipal and regional elections are due to be held. A general election is also scheduled for some time before December.

One of the most popular placards on display by members of the crowd was being held by a couple called Mari Paz and Javier, according to Spanish daily El Pais. It was calling for a return of obligatory military service for Spaniards.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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