At least 200,000 people—half a million according to the organisers—marched in Barcelona last Saturday against the show trial of 12 Catalan nationalist leaders.
The trial, which began at Madrid’s supreme court last week, follows Catalonia’s independence referendum and attempt to secede from Spain in October 2017.
Meanwhile, prime minister Pedro Sanchez of the Labour?type PSOE party has dissolved parliament and called elections for 28 April. He had failed to win parliamentary approval for his budget.
He presented this as “the most social budget in history”—a claim supported by Unidos Podemos, the coalition of the radical group Podemos with the Communist-led United Left.
In fact, his proposed budget contained less money for social services as a percentage of GDP than almost any of the budgets of the former right wing government.
Behind some symbolic improvements, the government has maintained the European Union’s austerity policies.
The election announcement is the latest act in the ongoing political instability of the Spanish state.
The key fracture is over the question of a referendum on Catalan independence.
But the political instability also has its roots in the response to the 2008 economic crisis by successive governments.
This should have led to the growth of a left wing alternative.
But Podemos, formed only five years ago, has abandoned its initial radical promises to reveal itself as just another mainstream party, backing the PSOE with very few criticisms.