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Spain: Madrid mass protest over catalonia talks

  • Spain Catalonia: Madrid mass protest over talks policy
    Far-right groups including the Vox party are also present at the protest, held under the slogan "For a united Spain. Elections now!" Spain Catalonia: Madrid mass protest over talks policy
Region:
Europe
Category:
Politics
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Thousands are in central Madrid for a protest by centre-right parties opposed to a plan by the Spanish government to ease tension in the Catalonia region.

The Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos (Citizens) called the protest after PM Pedro Sánchez offered the separatists the chance of a round table for talks.

The right considers the offer a betrayal and surrender. The separatists have rejected the offer anyway.

Like the right, the ruling Socialists also oppose Catalan independence.

Far-right groups including the Vox party are also present at the protest, held under the slogan "For a united Spain. Elections now!"

One protester, Mabel Campuzano, told Reuters news agency that Mr Sánchez was "betraying Spain and we think that Spaniards don't deserve him as the president of the government".

In a speech to the crowds, PP leader Pablo Casado denounced Mr Sánchez's policies as "Socialist surrender" and "deals under the table", Efe news agency reported.

"Sánchez's time is over," Mr Casado said, adding that the protests were a turning point and the beginning of a return to "harmony and legality" in Spain.

Catalan nationalists regained power in Barcelona in May, after a seven-month period of direct rule by Madrid.

Tensions remain high, as many Catalans resent Madrid's show of force last year, when it charged pro-independence leaders with sedition.

Mr Sánchez heads a minority government that depends on nationalists - including Catalans - to stay in power, but he has ruled out any new Catalan referendum on independence.