Feijóo and Abascal attend this civil society protest with protesters shouting 'Pedro Sánchez, to prison' and 'Long live Spain'
Tens of thousands of people carrying flags of Spain and the European Union packed Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles and adjacent streets this Saturday to protest against the amnesty law agreed upon by the PSOE and the independentists. The slogan most chanted by the protesters has been 'Pedro Sánchez, to prison'.
This mobilization, which takes place two days after Sánchez has been inaugurated as President of the Government, has been called by more than a hundred forums and civic associations under the motto 'Not in my name: neither amnesty, nor self-determination. For freedom, unity and equality'.
While the organizers have put the number of attendees at their protest at almost one million, which has passed without incident, the Government Delegation in Madrid considers that some 170,000 people have gathered, far exceeding the figure of 80,000 that it offered a week ago after the protest organized by the PP in Madrid's Puerta del Sol against the amnesty.
The protesters - who have packed the surrounding streets of Alcalá, Paseo del Prado or Gran Vía - carried banners such as 'Sánchez to prison', 'Sánchez sells his country traitor', 'Sánchez out of the party' or 'Pedro Sánchez is the Judas of the XXI century'. There they have also chanted slogans such as "Puigdemont to prison", "Sánchez, resignation", "Long live Spain" or "I like fruit" - which has been popularized by the Madrid PP of Isabel Díaz Ayuso -, the most repeated being "Pedro Sánchez, to prison."
The organizers have enlivened the event with soundtracks from the Transition such as 'Mediterráneo' by Joan Manuel Serrat, 'Libre' by Nino Bravo, 'Libertad sin ira', 'Mi querida España' by Cecilia or 'Que viva España' by Manolo Escobar .
At the start of the event, where there was a standing ovation for Alejo Vidal-Quadras after being shot in the face a week ago, the organizers explained that with this protest they wanted to "stand up to the process of annihilation of the Rule of Law" and tell the President of the Government who do not act on his behalf.
Afterwards, several interventions took place, such as that of Portuguese MEP Paulo Rangel, Professor Félix Ovejero, writers Andrés Trapiello and Albert Boadella, ETA victim Conchita Martínez, Venezuelan journalist Miguel Henrique Otero and the president of S'ha Acabat !, Julia Calvet.
The last speech was given by the writer and philosopher Fernando Savater, who called for "due disobedience" regarding accepting that law that goes against the spirit of freedom and equality of the Spanish people.
According to Savater, it is time to "fight against cowardice" and "whatever" because the Government relies on the "boredom" and "tiredness" of the citizens. "Do not get bored, do not get tired, do not tolerate the intolerable because whoever tolerates the intolerable ends up living in a miserable way," she told the attendees.
For his part, Boadella has stated - in a recorded video projected on stage - that his life began in a "military dictatorship" and "is on its way to ending in a progressive dictatorship." "It fucks me up," she exclaimed, with an audience that later chanted 'It fucks me up too' and 'Pedro Sánchez dictator'.
MEP Paulo Rangel has stressed that the Amnesty Law is not a problem of Spain but of Europe and has proclaimed that "he who resists, wins." "I will resist," a group of protesters responded.
There has also been a message of support for the Security Forces and Bodies for their actions in Catalonia after the 1st October in 2017, with special mention to those police officers who suffered serious injuries in the altercations of the 'procés', some of them still with consequences and without being able to join active service. The organizers have asked for applause from the attendees for all of them.
FEIJÓO AND ABASCAL SUPPORT THE PROTEST, EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO JOINT PHOTO
The call has had the support of the top leaders of PP and Vox, Alberto Núñez Feijóo and Santiago Abascal, who have been calling for days to massively support this concentration of civil society. The leader of Ciudadanos, Adrián Vázquez, was also present.
Feijóo, who came accompanied by several of his 'barons', such as Isabel Díaz Ayuso from Madrid, has demanded that Sánchez "not build walls" between Spaniards and, although he has warned that "the alarms of democracy are on" he has asked citizens not to be "afraid" because Spain is a democratic system.
For his part, Abascal has asked Feijóo for a meeting to "coordinate the institutional response" to the "coup" by Pedro Sánchez that is consummated with the amnesty law. There has been no joint photo of both, although they have maintained contact via WhatsApp before attending this protest.
THE CONVENING CIVIL SOCIETY ASSOCIATIONS
Among the more than one hundred civic associations calling for this protest are Foro Libertad y Alternativa, Unión 78, Foro España Cívica, Cataluña Suma, Pie en Pared, S'ha Finat!, NEOS, Association for Tolerance, Catalan Civic Coexistence, De Español a Spanish for the Constitution, OLE (Other Electoral Law), Resiste España or New Spirit of Ermua. Many of them already promoted another rally in Cibeles on January 21 under the slogan 'For Spain, Democracy and the Constitution'.
The event, which ended with the national anthem, and proclamations of 'Long live Spain', 'Long live the Constitution' and 'Long live the King', was also attended by the former president of the Community of Madrid Esperanza Aguirre; the former deputy of Cs Marcos de Quinto; the former president of UPyD, Rosa Díez; or the PP deputy for Madrid Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo.