A crowd of 40,000 Spaniards took to the streets of Madrid Sunday to protest the possible plans to grant amnesty to Catalans who face legal trouble for their roles in the separatist bid six years ago, according to Spanish news site EFE. The crowd held Spanish national flags and displayed signs, with some describing Sanchez as a “traitor.”
The Catalan independence movement is a social and political movement which seeks the independence of the Catalonia region from Spain.
In October 2017, the Catalonia separatists carried out an independence referendum that resulted in 90 percent of those who voted being in favour of the split from Spain. However, shortly after, the Spanish Constitutional Court unanimously held that the referendum was unconstitutional and void.
The legal consequences of this decision was that Catalan failed to obtain independence from Spain. Furthermore, Catalan officials who declared independence were subject to criminal consequences. During this time, the Spanish Constitutional Court nullified Catalonia’s independence declaration.
EFE reported that the amnesty may be offered by the Socialist Party in exchange for Catalonian support of the acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who seeks to stay in office after July’s election. However, there is a clear divide and growing tension as a result of the possible plans to grant an amnesty to Catalans. The opposition conservative People’s Party (PP) objects to the amnesty, considering it to be unconstitutional.
Gregorio Casteneda, a pensioner who travelled from Santander on Spain’s north coast to show his opposition to any amnesty, spoke to Reuters and said, “I am not in favour of the government that we have. To me this is a disaster because it is going to divide Spain totally.”
Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the leader of the PP, publicly opposed the proposed measure to grant an amnesty at the demonstration.