Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Spain on Saturday to demand a referendum to abolish Spain’s monarchy, just days after King Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son.“Spain, tomorrow, will be republican,” they chanted, waving the red, purple and gold flags of the country’s second republic, proclaimed in 1931 then overthrown eight years later by Gen. Francisco Franco at the end of the country’s catastrophic civil war.
It was only a few hours after the 76-year-old king announced his abdication on June 2 that a wave of protests drawing hundreds of thousands spread across the country.
On Saturday tens of thousands or more people from dozens of left-wing political parties and citizens organizations came together to demand “a referendum now” on the future of the monarchy.
Forty-six-year-old Crown Prince Felipe is due to have his coronation, probably on June 19, in a joint session of parliament – whose members, both in the ruling party and in opposition, overwhelmingly support the monarchy.
A corruption scandal involving the royal family in 2011 at the height of an economic crisis, effected the King’s popularity. The following year he sparked fresh outrage by hunting elephants in Botswana while ordinary Spaniards struggled through a recession.
Years of economic crisis “have awakened in us a desire for renewal, to overcome and correct mistakes and open the way to a decidedly better future,” the king said in a televised address.
“Today a younger generation deserves to step into the front line, with new energies,” he said.
Those feelings were evident in the results of the May 25 European Parliament elections, which saw a collapse in support for the two traditional parties.
Among the insurgent new left-wing parties was Podemos, a new party that emerged from the “Indignants” protest movement of 2011 and coincided with social discontent after 2008′s financial crisis.
“We want to give a voice to the people. Why is it a problem to organize a referendum? Why is it a problem to give Spaniards the right to decide their future?” asked one of the party’s leaders, Pablo Iglesias.
If the People’s Party and Socialist Party think that Felipe has the confidence of the citizens, he should submit to a referendum,” Iglesias said.
After the demonstration, held at Sol what organizers have called a “constituent assembly ‘, will decide the actions to be carried out in the coming days.
At that meeting it was agreed to launch a new ‘Surrounding Congress’ next Wednesday at 12:30, when the vote is held on abdication law. A law against that IU has tabled an amendment to all , including the call for a referendum.
Thousands of people also came out to the streets of Valencia to demand the convening of a referendum and for citizens to choose the model of State, following the abdication of King Juan Carlos
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