SPAIN: Right Wingers Rally To Bring Down Socialist PM

SPAIN: Right Wingers Rally To Bring Down Socialist PM

The rally was called by the opposition center-right and far-right parties, which claim Madrid is betraying the Spanish people by caving to pressure from Catalan separatists.

Thousands of Spaniards joined a rally in Madrid to demand that socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez step down.

"The time of Sanchez's government is over", Popular Party president Pablo Casado said.

The three parties won a majority in a regional election in the south western region of Andalusia in December, ousting the Socialists from power in the region after 36 years.

The protest took place two days before the start of the trial of 12 Catalan independence leaders, who face up to 25 years in prison on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds for their role in a failed secession bid from Spain that they are accused of spearheading in 2017. Mr Rajoy proved incapable of stopping support for secession from swelling in Catalonia to roughly half of the region's voters.

Spanish Citizens party leader Albert Rivera delivers a speech at Columbus Square protesting against the talks between the Spanish government and Catalan pro-independence campaigners.

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"And what I am doing now as prime minister, always respecting the constitution, is to solve a national crisis to which the Popular Party has contributed", Sanchez said. The demonstrators gathered at the Plaza de Colon in the city centre under the slogan "For a united Spain, elections now!".

Sanchez came to power in June promising to thaw tensions between central authorities in Madrid and the Catalan leaders in Barcelona. He met twice with Catalan chief Quim Torra.

"The government is giving many things to supporters of Catalan independence and is going to break Spain apart", said Raquel García, 76, who was carrying a Spanish flag.

Sanchez had said he would be willing to help Catalan lawmakers agree to a new Charter Law, which determines the amount of self-rule the region enjoys.

Conservative parties called the rally after Sanchez's government last week accepted the presence - as requested by Catalan separatists - of an independent "rapporteur" in future talks.

If Sanchez is unable to approve his budget, he could call elections before his term is over in 2020.

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