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Spain's right, far-right protest against PM over Catalonia

AFP  |  Madrid 

Tens of thousands of people waving Spanish flags joined a rally on Sunday in called by right-wing and far-right parties against over his negotiations with Catalan separatists.

Under the shadow of a huge Spanish flag that flies above the central Colon Square, the demonstrators waved their own smaller red and yellow versions of the same banner and held signs reading "Stop Sanchez. Elections now!".

estimated some 45,000 people had taken part in the protest, which comes just two days before the high-profile trial of Catalan separatist leaders opens in under the national and foreign spotlight.

The rally was called by centre-right Ciudadanos, the conservative and far-right Vox, which has only recently burst onto Spain's political scene, as well as a handful of smaller far-right groups.

They are angered by Sanchez's decision to take a more conciliatory tone with pro-independence parties, whose votes are crucial to the legislative agenda of his eight-month-old minority government.

"The government of Sanchez's time is up," told reporters before the start of the rally.

Sanchez came to power in June with the support of Catalan nationalist parties, which voted with him in a no confidence motion against former Mariano Rajoy, whose PP was embroiled in a corruption scandal.

Polls show that between them the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox would win a majority if a were held today, giving them the combined parliamentary clout to drive Sanchez from office.

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

They called the rally after last week accepted the presence -- as asked by Catalan separatists -- of an independent "rapporteur" in future talks between Catalan parties.

The right wing parties accused the government of treachery over the move.

Despite the government's concession, Catalan separatist parties still refuse to back the government's 2019 budget. If Sanchez is unable to approve his budget, he could call elections before his term is over in 2020.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, February 10 2019. 18:50 IST