The right-wing opposition accuses the left-wing prime minister of yielding to pressure from separatist parties that support the government.
Right-wing protesters take to the streets of Madrid to condemn the Spanish government’s controversial offer to pardon imprisoned Catalan separatists in the wake of a failed 2017 independence bid.
The mass protest, scheduled to begin Sunday afternoon (10:00 a.m. GMT), will put pressure on Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to call for a planned gesture that has dominated weeks of political debate and intensified controversy. Catalan separatism,
“I understand that there may be people who may have objections to this decision, which the government may make in light of what happened in 2017,” he said during an official visit to Argentina on Wednesday.
“But I ask for your trust. I ask you to understand, to honor, because the challenge we all face is to promote coexistence, it is worth it. ”
Although the Sanchez’s left-wing government has not said anything specific, all indications are that the pardon will be granted before the summer recess.
But the proposal provoked a huge backlash from the right-wing opposition, which accuses the minority government of splitting up pressure from separatist parties, on whose support it depends in part.
“Sanchez plans to continue pardoning to legitimize the crime … a historic mistake that will not solve anything but leave his government,” said Pablo Casado, leader of the right-wing Popular People’s Party (PP). )
The Spanish Supreme Court also opposes the move to plead guilty to their role in the referendum. short statement on independence, saying he sees “no evidence or testimony of remorse” from prisoners to justify such a pardon.
The Supreme Court sentenced 12 Catalan separatists for their role in the crisis, nine of whom were sentenced in October 2019 to 9 to 13 years in prison.
The letter of Hunkeras
The prisoner serving the longest sentence of 13 years is ORIOL JUN UNKERAS, the leader of the ERC (Republican left of Catalonia), a key parliamentary ally of the Sanchez government.
In a letter published on Monday, Junqueras supported the idea of pardoning from Madrid after he had previously rejected the idea, admitting that the separatists had made mistakes back in 2017.
“We must take into account the fact that a part of the society also did not consider our response completely legal,” he wrote.
He also backed a Scottish-style referendum agreed with Spain, an option that Madrid is not ready to discuss.
“All separatist leaders are aware that this will be a costly decision for the Socialists, as most Catalans are in favor of a pardon, but many Spaniards are against it,” said Ana Sophia Cardenal, a political scientist at the Open University of Catalonia.
But hardline separatists, including the former leader of Catalonia JxCat Carles Puigdemont Those who fled Spain to avoid prosecution after independence in 2017 have not given up on unilateralism and have repeatedly demanded amnesty for prisoners, which is not on the table.