- They called for lifting of the lockdown entirely, which they say is threatening the economy through closure of businesses.
- The protests came the same day the Prime Minister announced that the country will open its borders to tourists in July.
- The Prime Minister said that it was a constitutional right to protest, but urged the participants to respect the rules and decisions made by the health authorities.
Thousands of supporters of Spain’s far-right Vox party protested against the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The protestors called on the Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, and his deputy, Pablo Iglesias, to resign for the poor handling of the global pandemic.
They called for lifting of the lockdown entirely, which they say is threatening the economy through closure of businesses. The protesters gathered in their cars and motorbikes at the center of Madrid and other cities. Most of the cars and motorbikes had the country’s national flag. Vox called the protest a caravan for Spain and liberty.
The party accused the Prime Minister of violating the rights of the citizens of Spain by forcing them to stay at home during the lockdown period, which was imposed to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
“We will never forget what they have done,” Vox leader Santiago Abascal said. “Do not doubt that we will make them face justice. They know it and fear our freedom. That is why they try to intimidate us.”
The protests came the same day the Prime Minister announced that the country will open its borders to tourists in July. “From July, foreign tourism will resume in safe conditions. We will guarantee tourists will not take any risks and will not bring us any risks,” Sanchez said in a televised conference. Tourists contribute heavily to the country’s economy.
The Prime Minister also announced that Spain’s top football division will kick off in June, although the matches will be played in empty stadiums. More restrictions will be eased by authorities in the course of next week. Cinemas and museums are set to open, but at a third of its capacity. Outdoor dining and gathering of 10 people will be allowed, and schools in some areas will also reopen.
On the protests, the government said the measures were in a bid to save lives of the citizens, and also prevent the health system from crashing due to the huge number of patients who suffered from the virus. The Prime Minister said that it was a constitutional right to protest, but urged the participants to respect the rules and decisions made by the health authorities.
The death toll from the virus in Spain has significantly dropped. The country recorded 48 deaths, marking the seventh day when the toll has been below 100. Over 28,000 people have succumbed to the virus in the country. The government declared a state of emergency on March 14 due to the high number of infections it recorded. The country had one of the most strict lockdowns.
Abscal and another Vox leader are survivors of COVID-19. The two were infected with the virus after they held a huge rally in early March. The party had apologized for going on with the rally amid the coronavirus crisis. The Vox party is the third-largest party in the Congress, having made huge gains in the rerun election in November last year. The party won its first seat in Spain’s parliament in April, 2019. It a strong anti-migrant and anti-women’s rights party.