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Over 150,000 Gather To Protest In Spain Over Separatist Amnesty

Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the biggest protest in Madrid’s history on Saturday against Spain’s new amnesty law, Reuters reported.

Madrid, Spain is granting amnesty to Catalan separatists who seek to establish independence for a separate government, according to Reuters, The protest on Saturday drew in over 170,000 people, just two days after Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez secured a four-year term with the support of the Catalan nationalist parties.

Many Spaniards felt upset at the news that Catalan separatists would be granted amnesty, according to Reuters. “Sanchez traitor” and “Don’t sell Spain” were frequent chants among the protestors.

Around 400 individuals, including separatists and police who were involved in clashes with activists during the 2017 independence bid, are also covered by the amnesty. Some of the civilians at the initial rally moved to the motorway near the prime minister’s residence, and began protesting there, according to Reuters.

The upcoming amnesty grant is Spain’s largest since the 1977 blanket amnesty, covering offenses during the Franco dictatorship, according to Reuters. It’s also the EU’s first since 1991. Sanchez – having secured parliamentary approval to form a new government – defended the law, saying it would ease tensions in Catalonia.

Protesters, including neo-Nazis, held rowdy demonstrations outside the Socialist party’s headquarters for 15 consecutive nights, according to Reuters. In a mid-September survey, around 70% opposed amnesty, including 59% of Socialist supporters.

Spain’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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