15 Nov, 2023 @ 11:56
2 mins read

Sex dolls as a form of protest: Demonstrations in Madrid against Catalan amnesty take a surreal turn

Sex dolls at Catalan amnesty protest

THE ONGOING nightly protests outside the Madrid headquarters of the Socialist Party (PSOE) took a somewhat surreal turn on Tuesday night, as demonstrators brandished around two dozen inflatable sex dolls as they chanted offensive slogans against the caretaker government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. 

“These are the PSOE’s female ministers!” they cried, as well as: “This is not a headquarters, this is a brothel!”

The spontaneous demonstrations in Madrid’s Ferraz street began several weeks ago, when the PSOE announced it had reached a deal with the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) party that included an amnesty for anyone involved in the drive for independence in the northeastern region. 

The protests intensified when a similar deal was announced last Thursday with the separatist party Together for Catalunya. 

In exchange, the two groups will support Sanchez’s bid to return to power at an investiture debate in Congress that will begin today and culminate in a vote by lawmakers. 

The arrival of the blow-up dolls at the protests last night was widely cheered by the 1,200 or so demonstrators that were in the area, according to figures from the central government’s delegation in Madrid. 

One of the protestors who came up with the idea told online daily El Español that the aim was to remind people about two corruption cases involving the PSOE that saw its politicians spend public money on prostitutes and in brothels.

The most recent of these involved a lawmaker in Congress, Bernardo Fuentes Curbelo (widely known by his nickname ‘Tito Berni’), while another was connected to the so-called ‘ERE case’ in Andalusia, which saw €680 million of public funds destined to stimulate employment and help struggling companies syphoned off to friends and relatives of the regional PSOE as well as party members, who in some cases spent the money on drugs and sex workers. 

The conservative Popular Party (PP) and far-right Vox have been encouraging the protests, with the former group also convening mass demonstrations across Spain on Sunday against the amnesty deal that attracted around half-a-million people.

Sex dolls at Catalan amnesty protest

Those on the right wing of Spain’s political spectrum are usually supporters of the royal family, but the chants heard in recent days outside the PSOE headquarters have been surprisingly critical of King Felipe VI. 

According to press reports, the demonstrators have been chanting: “Felipe, masón, defiende tu nación”, which translates as “Felipe, mason, defend your nation”, while some have been waving Spanish flags with the crest cut out, also to express anger that the king invited Pedro Sanchez to form a government in the first place. 

As seen in a series of videos circulating on social media, the protestors have also been reciting the Rosary prayers, because Spain is a ‘lifelong Christian homeland’, one of the demonstrators told online daily El Plural. “God said that he will reign in Spain, and if God is with us, who will be against us?” he added.

Today will see the start of the investiture debate that is likely to see Pedro Sanchez reelected as prime minister by lawmakers in Congress. 

A massive police presence was already in place around that parliament building and the Senate by this morning, with the authorities expecting more protests to come.

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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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