A protester holds a sign reading "Sanchez Traitor, Spain is not for sale" during a protest outside the PSOE party offices in Almeria, Spain, 12 November 2023. EFE/Carlos Barba

Thousands protest in Spain against amnesty for Catalan pro-independence supporters

Madrid, Nov 12 (EFE).- Thousands of people demonstrated across Spain on Sunday to protest against an amnesty law that the Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) agreed with Catalan separatists last week.

The amnesty is part of a deal to form a coalition government that will see interim prime minister Pedro Sanchez remain in power for another four-year term.

Hundreds of people take part in a protest outside PSOE regional headquarters in Seville, Spain, 12 November 2023. EFE/ David Arjona

The agreements with the Catalan groups – which are underpinned by the highly controversial law that will grant pardons to those charged following the referendum – have sparked intense anger in Spain, particularly from the conservative People’s Party (PP) and the far-right Vox.

PP called nationwide rallies in all of Spain’s provincial capitals to protest against the agreement between Sanchez’s PSOE and the Catalan separatists.

The rally in Madrid, which was attended by some 80,000 people, was helmed by Alberto Núñez Feijóo, whose PP narrowly beat PSOE in a July election but failed to garner enough support for a governing majority.

The rallies were also attended by members of Vox, whose leader, Santiago Abascal, took part in the protest in the Spanish capital.

Protesters chanted “Spain is not for sale” and called for a “general strike” against the deal.

Other cities including Barcelona, Seville and Valencia saw similar protests against the pact that paves the way for Sanchez to be inaugurated.

PSOE struck deals with the pro-independence Catalan groups Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and Junts per Catalunya (Together for Catalonia), before formally securing the backing of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and the Canary Coalition (CC) on Friday, giving Sanchez 179 of 350 parliamentary votes – enough for an absolute majority.

Junts leader Carles Puigdemont, who has lived in exile in Belgium since he and hundreds of other politicians and activists were charged for their roles in an unsanctioned 2017 independence referendum, had refused to back Sanchez in government unless the charges were lifted.

Sanchez is due to be confirmed for another four-year term in a debate in parliament, which is expected this week.  EFE