Spain's right, far-right protest against PM over Catalonia

Clay Curtis
February 12, 2019

Amid the ongoing protests, embattled Prime Minister Sanchez tweeted, "The #Government works for the unity of #Spain and this means uniting the Spaniards and not confronting them as the right does".

Tens of thousands of people joined a right-wing rally in Spain's capital Sunday to demand that Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez step down for his handling of the Catalonia region's secession crisis.

His minority government last week agreed to allow an independent rapporteur - as requested by Catalan separatists - to attend future talks with pro-independence parties. They are reportedly viewing Sanchez's proposal as succumbing to the pressure of those who have called for Catalonian independence.

"The time of Sanchez's government has ended", Popular Party leader Pablo Casado told reporters before the protest.

Polls show that between them the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox would win a majority if a general election were held today, giving them the combined parliamentary clout to drive Sanchez from office.

The government faces a key vote on Wednesday on its 2019 budget proposal, which will likely fail without the support of Catalan parties.

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Sanchez's government broke off negotiations with the Catalan separatists on Friday, when Vice President Carmen Calvo said the separatists wouldn't budge from their demand for an independence referendum.

Ana Puente, a 73 year-old retiree, said she was protesting for a "united Spain".

The conservative opposition Popular Party and the center-right Citizens party organized the rally, which the upstart far-right Vox party and other far-right parties backed.

Mr Sanchez is trying to cobble together support to pass a national budget and will need votes from the Catalan separatists to pass it.

If Mr Sanchez is unable to approve his budget, he could call elections before his term is over in 2020. He holds just over a quarter of the seats in parliament and was favoured by Catalan supporters as he was more open to discussions.

These protests also occurred days before the start of a trial involving 12 Catalan leaders who were charged with embezzlement during a failed bid for independence from Spain in 2017, accordingtothe Guardian.

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