Thousands of Spaniards protested in Madrid on Sunday against the government’s plan to pardon 12 Catalan politicians who have been convicted on the region’s failed independence bid in 2017, a move to see protesters as a threat to national unity.
Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo has yet to make it clear that the amnesty for Catalan separatists was “close” in an interview published Sunday in the La Vanguardia newspaper but the issue has sharply divided Spaniards.
Spaniards opposed the pardon by about 63% while some 25% supported it and 6 more were indifferent, according to a poll published on Sunday in niusdiario.es, an online newspaper.
“We want an apology because you have to show remorse now that it should be stopped and separatists will not appear that,” said Carlos Bandecha, 47, a businessman, at the rally, where many protesters waved red and yellow national flags.
The opposition parliament of the Conservative People’s Party (PP), the far-right Vox Party and the moderate Ciudadanos Madrid attended the rally in central Plaza Cologne.
Asked when Spain’s center-left government could approve the amnesty, Calvo told Vanguardia.com, “Soon, after they get the Supreme Court report nearby, we will immediately follow up on them. They will come to the cabinet soon …”
The Spanish Supreme Court said in a non-binding report last month that the government opposes a possible amnesty for Catalan separatist leaders.