5 October 2014

Anti-monarchy protesters clash with police in Madrid

Spanish police have clashed with anti-monarchy protesters in the capital Madrid, injuring dozens of them. The clashes came after hundreds of Spaniards hit the streets of Madrid on Sunday, calling for the reform of the Spanish constitution and an end to the monarchy.
The protesters slammed the current political system in Spain for its failure to represent the real will of the people. The angry demonstrators also criticized the royal family for its lavish lifestyle.

Violence broke out toward the end of the protest when Madrid's riot police used batons to beat protesters who were armed with no more than banners. Several people were reported to have been injured, with a handful arrested.

Spain has been the scene of anti-monarchy protests in recent months. In June, thousands of protesters gathered in the streets of Madrid and urged the abolition of monarchy following the abdication of King Juan Carlos in favor of his son Felipe VI.

An opinion poll for the El Pais newspaper carried out in the same month, revealed that around two-thirds of Spaniards support the idea of a referendum on whether Spain should continue to be a constitutional monarchy.

The image of Spain’s royal family has been tarnished by a series of corruption scandals. Public opinion turned against Juan Carlos in 2012 as he took a secret luxury elephant-hunting trip to Botswana when one in four Spanish workers was jobless and the government was teetering on the brink of default.

Also Juan Carlos’ daughter, Princess Cristina, and her husband, Inaki Urdangarin, are under investigation in a fraud case for the embezzlement of public funds.

The country is also currently dealing with its worst economic crisis in recent history. A 25-percent unemployment rate and the independence seeking of the country’s Catalonia region are the main challenges for the new king.