Thousands protest in Madrid against government's Catalonia policy
Updated 22:22, 10-Feb-2019
CGTN
00:26

Thousands of people demonstrated in Madrid on Sunday against Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's proposed talks to ease political tensions in Catalonia, in a protest organized by center-right and far-right opposition parties.

Demonstrators waving Spanish flags filled the Plaza de Colon in the city center in the largest protest Sanchez has faced, with their slogan “For a united Spain, elections now!” a reminder of the pressure on his minority government.

The government's proposal last Tuesday to appoint a rapporteur in talks among political parties to address the Catalan independence crisis galvanized the opposition, which has deemed it a betrayal and a surrender to pressure from Catalan separatists. The opposition has called for early elections.

The government faces a key vote next Wednesday on its 2019 budget proposal, which will likely fail without the support of Catalan parties. But those parties have said their vote for the budget is conditional on the Catalan talks including the issue of independence, something the government will not include.

Center-right wing parties Popular Party and Ciudadanos organized Sunday's protest, and the newly emerged far-right party Vox also participated.

The protest took place two days before the start of the trial of 12 Catalan independence leaders, who face up to 25 years in prison on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds for their role in a failed secession bid from Spain that they are accused of spearheading in 2017.

(Cover: Right-wing protesters wave Spanish flags during a demonstration in Madrid against Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, February 10, 2019. /VCG Photo )

Source(s): Reuters