MADRID, Nov 18 (Reuters) – About 170,000 people marched through Madrid on Saturday in the largest protest demonstration to date. amnesty law Spain’s Socialist Party has agreed that Catalonia launched a separatist movement to form a government in 2017.
The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests in cities across the country against the amnesty and came two days after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain’s Socialist Party. won for the first time in 4 years In exchange for assent to the law, he received support from nationalist parties in Catalonia and the Basque Country to extend his term.
Many of the demonstrators waved Spanish flags and held placards reading “Sánchez Traitor” and “Don’t Sell Spain,” as leaders from four judicial bodies, the opposition, and the business community called for the rule of law and the three powers. They demonstrated against a law they said threatened separation. .
Authorities estimate the number of demonstrators at 170,000.
The march, organized by civil society groups, was also attended by Alberto Nuñez Feijó, leader of the opposition Conservative People’s Party, and Santiago Abascal, leader of the far-right Vox party.
After the rally, hundreds of people protested on a highway near the Prime Minister’s official residence, Moncloa Palace, in Madrid. The A6 road was closed for about an hour during the protest, but reopened after police cleared the scene.
A small protest was held in front of the Spanish embassy in London.
The amnesty targets approximately 400 people involved in the independence movement that ended in 2017, including not only separatists but also police involved in clashes with activists.
The independence referendum was ruled illegal by the courts and sparked Spain’s worst political crisis in decades.
According to Spain’s CSIC Research Council, the amnesty is the largest in Spain since the 1977 blanket amnesty for crimes committed during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, and the first amnesty approved in the European Union since 1991. It becomes law.
Sanchez, who won Thursday’s parliamentary vote to form a new government with 179 votes in favor and 171 against, defended the law, arguing that the amnesty would help ease tensions in Catalonia.
Protesters, including neo-Nazi groups, have held noisy demonstrations outside Madrid’s Socialist Party headquarters for 15 consecutive nights since the deal was announced. Although there have been some clashes with police, resulting in injuries to officers and demonstrators, the protests have generally been peaceful.
In a survey conducted by Metroscopia in mid-September, around 70% of respondents (59% of whom were Socialist Party supporters) said they opposed the idea of amnesty.
Report by Graham Keeley. Additional reporting by Susana Vera, Raul Cadenas, and Silvio Castellanos. Edited by Clelia Oziel and Mike Harrison
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