Thousands Take To Streets Of Madrid To Protest Catalan Separatist Pardons

MADRID (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 13th June, 2021) Thousands of Spanish citizens hit the streets of downtown Madrid on Sunday to rally against the government's plan to pardon jailed Catalan politicians who were behind the failed 2017 independence referendum, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Catalan President Pere Aragones agreed to leave the Catalan political conflict behind. The rapprochement between the heads of Spain and Catalonia occurs as the Sanchez government mulls pardoning 12 Catalan politicians convicted over the 2017 independence referendum.

The Sunday rally participants are against the pardons, calling for the "equality of all Spaniards without exception before the law."

"I have come to protest the Sanchez government, which is negotiating with criminals [parties supporting the idea of Catalan independence]. The convicts have committed a crime and must serve their sentences in full," one of the protesters told Sputnik.

Another participant said that she came not only to protest the government's plan to pardon the separatists but to demand the prime minister's resignation.

On October 1, 2017, Catalonia held a referendum in which over 90%of voters supported the region's secession from Spain. Madrid declared the referendum illegal and arrested a number of pro-independence politicians. The Supreme Court of Spain has sentenced nine pro-independence Catalan leaders to terms ranging from 9 to 13 years in prison on sedition charges, while three other officials were ordered to pay fines over disobedience.