Why are the Spanish people protesting in the streets?


Since November 6, the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) headquarters located on Ferraz Street in Madrid has been home to countless protests. This is due to the caretaker government in Spain announcing that it would be granting amnesty to those who participated in the 2017 illegal attempt to break Cataluña away from the rest of Spain. Ever since great unrest has been widespread throughout the nation sparking disagreement among the citizens towards the amnesty. 

Why is Pedro Sanchez granting amnesty?

During the summer of 2023, general elections were held in Spain to vote for the “15th Cortes Generales”, in which the members of congress and deputies of the senate are elected. However, in a turn of events, the elections were inconclusive leaving no political party with the majority of votes. This resulted in the establishment of a caretaker government in the interim, with Pedro Sanchez continuing his term. To be able to guarantee a second term in government Sanchez had to secure more votes and parliamentary support. 

In the quest to do this, Pedro Sanchez, representing PSOE, has agreed with Catalan separatists that they will forgive the illegal acts carried out by them and pardon their 15 million debt to the Spanish central government. Some of these illegal acts would be the actions taken to hold the referendum in 2014 and 2017 to vote for Catalan independence. 
The pivotal agreement that solidified his success consisted of enacting an amnesty law that would pardon and absolve all individuals implicated in the Catalan bid for independence. This would account for more than 300 people.

How did the citizens react? 

On Thursday, November 16, the lower house of parliament (Congress of Deputies) narrowly voted for Pedro Sanchez to reclaim the position of prime minister. The process of his reelection and the specific agreements reached have left Spanish citizens with a bittersweet sentiment.

Both government officials and the citizens of Spain have expressed their discontent and made serious allegations about the stability of the Spanish government. The deal sent shockwaves around the country, with Sanchez’s conservative opponents accusing him of putting the rule of law on the line for his political gain. Moreover, the main cities where there has been a considerable turnout would be Sevilla, Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid. All of which have publicly manifested their disagreement with the amnesty and the peril in which Spain might find itself. Signs have stated “Prison for Pedro Sanchez”, “Democracy is at risk”, and “No terrorism allowed”, etc all amounting to great opposition. 

For now, the protests do not seem to be at a halt nor will they be, as soon as Sanchez was sworn in the office once again, protesters took to the streets and Ferraz home to critics, demands, and pressure. 

Photo by: Oscar Del Pozo via Getty Images

Gabriela Gorodi
Gabriela Gorodi
Hey! I´m Gaby, I am a third-year law and international relations student with a passion for writing. My interests go from writing about international conflict to issues closer to our daily life that may be of interest. I was born in Spain however I grew up abroad and love learning about different cultures, traditions, and countries. Everyone has a story to share and I think that's pretty unique.

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