Far-right protests erupt in Spain against coronavirus lockdowns

Supporters of Spain's far-right party Vox wave flags during a drive-in protest against the government's handling of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Madrid, Spain, May 23, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Thousands of cars and motorbikes honking horns and waving Spanish flags drove in procession through Madrid on Saturday, May 23, as part of a nationwide protest called by the far-right Vox party against the country's coronavirus lockdown.

Spain, which imposed one of Europe's toughest lockdowns on March 14, has started to ease restrictions, but Madrid and Barcelona have remained in lockdown for longer because of more severe coronavirus outbreaks.

The protesters called for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias, of the centre-left Socialists and left-wing Podemos coalition, to resign over their handling of the coronavirus crisis, and, in particular, the lockdowns and the damage done to the economy and jobs.

Protests against the lockdown started in Madrid's wealthy Salamanca neighbourhood last week, where people started banging pots and pans. But Saturday's procession marked the first organised protest against the government since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Vox urged people to protest in every regional capital, and similar car processions took place in Seville and Barcelona, among others.

Madrid and Barcelona are preparing to ease their lockdowns from Monday as infections have slowed. This will allow outdoor dining and gatherings of up to 10 people.

Spain has registered 28,628 deaths from COVID-19 and 234,824 cases.


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