PROTESTS: Thousands of flag waving citizens gathered in Madrid against Catalan independence

TENS of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Madrid calling for Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to call early elections over his handling of the Catalonia separatist crisis.

The leaders of Spain’s main three right wing parties – the conservative Popular Party (PP), centre-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) and far right Vox, had called the demonstration after the government’s proposal to appoint a rapporteur in talks amongst political parties designed to come up with agreement over the problem.

According to the central government delegate in Madrid crowds of 45,000 people joined the demo, although organisers put the figure as high as 200,000.

The three parties had called the protest under a manifesto that accused the prime minister of ‘betraying’ Spain after accepting 21 demands from pro-independence groups in Catalonia.

A government decision last week to break off talks with the pro-secessionist groups due to their demands ahead of cross-party discussions failed to halt the demonstration.

Yesterday’s (February 10) event, which used the slogan “For a united Spain, elections now!” was the largest against Sánchez since the socialist PSOE party government took office last June.

The trial of 12 Catalan ‘separatists’ is due to start tomorrow (February 12). They are accused of rebellion amongst a string of ‘offences’ after a unilateral declaration of independence was made following a referendum held in 2017.

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Dilip Kuner

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