| 18 July 2024, Thursday |

Spain’s amnesty plan for Catalan separatists sparks backlash

A demonstration in Madrid, opposing the talks between Spain’s acting government and Catalan separatist groups regarding a potential amnesty for many individuals linked to Catalonia’s independence movement, escalated into violence on Tuesday night.
Police fired tear gas and used batons against some of the protesters they said threw stones and other objects at them.

Television footage showed some demonstrators giving the Nazi salute and waving flags of the Franco dictatorship.

According to the government around 7,000 people attended Tuesday’s protest near the national headquarters of Spain’s Socialist Party in and the Parliament,

Highly contentious amnesty agreement
Spain’s caretaker government, led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists (PSOE), aims to secure another term by gaining the support of Catalonia’s separatist parties through an amnesty law and more concessions.

The largest opposition party, the conservative People’s Party (PP) and the right-wing populist Vox oppose the concessions.

The PSOE have already reached an agreement with the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC).

Approval from the Junts party, led by exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont, is still needed to approve the draft amnesty law.
A spokeswoman of the far-right Vox party, said the party did not back the violence seen at the gatherings but that it supports the anti-government protest.

Meanwhile, Sanchez denounced the protests, saying they were being led by “reactionaries.”

“(I extend) all my warmth and support for the Socialist Party members who are suffering harassment by reactionaries at their local headquarters,” he wrote on social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

“To attack the headquarters of Spain’s Socialist Party is to attack democracy.”

The bill is crucial for Sanchez.

If he does not form a new government by November 27, a new election would have to be held on January 14.

The legislation would help him in getting the support of pro-independence party lawmakers, essential for forming a government.

  • DW