Thousands march in Madrid to protest against Catalan amnesty law

By Thomson Reuters Mar 9, 2024 | 6:21 AM

MADRID (Reuters) – Thousands of Spaniards marched through the centre of Madrid on Saturday to protest against an amnesty bill for Catalan separatists involved in a failed 2017 independence bid.

Spain’s ruling Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) reached a deal with two Catalan nationalist parties on Thursday, meaning the draft law should be passed in parliament later this month.

The amnesty bill has prompted a series of large demonstrations as the conservative People’s Party (PP), the far-right Vox and some sectors of the Socialist party oppose it.

“As far as Vox is concerned, there will not be any truce or peace for this government,” Santiago Abascal, leader of Vox, told reporters in Madrid during Saturday’s demonstration, where protesters waved the national flag and sung patriotic songs.

The Socialists put forward the amnesty in exchange for support for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s new term in office from the two Catalan separatist parties that agreed Thursday’s deal.

The amnesty would cover all events related to the Catalan independence drive from 2011, including a symbolic vote held in 2014 and an independence referendum in 2017, which courts declared as illegal.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley and Catherine Macdonald; Editing by Helen Popper)