Yesterday evening [Monday] hundreds of massive demonstrations and rallies took place in a semi-spontaneous manner across Spain to celebrate the abdication of King Juan Carlos and to call for a republic. The central slogan was the demand for a referendum for the people to decide whether they want a monarchy or a republic.
The number of rallies and demonstrations that took place across the country is countless. Not only did they happen in all the provincial capitals, but also in the smaller towns.
Considering that the first calls for the mobilizations began to circulate via social media around midday, the response was impressive, both in the number of protesters and in its geographical expanse. In the light of the available information, we estimate that several hundred thousand of people took to the street yesterday evening to protest across Spain.
It is important to point out that, according to the reactionary Spanish law, hardened by the PP government, all of these rallies and demonstrations were illegal since they failed to follow the complicated bureaucratic procedure which dictates that they should have informed the authorities of the gatherings. But, who was going to inform the authorities? In the name of whom? This shows the impotence of the government before mass popular mobilizations. And on this occasion they were wary of introducing agent provocateurs to incite violence in view of the possible consequences that a police crackdown of the rallies might have had.
In dozens of cities and towns republican flags were hoisted on public buildings, chiefly in town halls governed by the United Left (IU), as well as those hung outside the windows and balconies of town halls and regional parliaments held by the right by officials and councillors from IU and other leftist organizations, as happened in the Madrid town hall or in the Valencian regional parliament (Les Corts).
The atmosphere was electrifying, brimming with happiness and euphoria. The chanting was constant. The most widespread slogan was: “Spain tomorrow will be republican!” Others had a humorous tenor, like “Felipe, hurry up, the third one is coming!”, referring to the third opportunity to build a republican regime in the Spanish state after the last two republics (1873 and 1931). In a similar vein, people chanted: “One, two, three, republic again!” Also in keeping with the sense of humour, shouts were heard of: “through the Bourbons to the sharks!” Of course, the chant that has now become commonplace in any demonstration, “Long live the struggle of the working class!”, was ubiquitous, evidencing the class character of the protests.
In Madrid, where the biggest rally took place, some 40,000 people (20,000 according to the police) gathered at the Puerta del Sol and the surrounding areas, with people coming and going. Hundreds of tourists that were calmly walking around the square were suddenly overwhelmed by the massive and unexpected human mass that they had to give way to, although some joined in with curiosity and enthusiasm.
In the following video, taken from the social media, one can appreciate the magnitude of the gathering in Madrid:
There were also big rallies in the largest cities, Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Bilbao. The demonstration at Granada is worth mentioning; the protesters lowered the monarchical flag that is located in the Plaza del Triunfo and hoisted the republican one instead, an act that was cheered by the protesters. Today, the government and the police issued an arrest warrant for the person responsible for this audacious deed; we denounce this as an act of repression.
Even if the organizations of the left and the social movements participated in these mobilizations, their role in organizing them was minimal and there weren’t even any joint statements calling for people to participate in the protests. Consequently, there were hardly any speakers in any of the rallies. This, however, is to a large extent understandable in view of the fast pace at which events unfolded yesterday.
The Junta Estatal Republicana (National Republican Committee), a platform that clusters dozens of left wing and social organizations that are in favour of the Republic, has called demonstrations in different cities, like Madrid, where we expect a better organized and equally massive protest.
It is significant that rallies also took place in other European cities, held by emigrant, students, and Spanish tourists in Paris, Edinburgh, Brussels, London, and other cities.
The general atmosphere is of great happiness and enthusiasm. There is greater confidence among the forces of labour, the youth, and social activists. The result of the EU elections has represented a heavy blow to the parties of the monarchist-capitalist regime and for the submissive and Social Democratic leadership of the PSOE, with a strengthening of the more leftist and anti-capitalist tendencies in society. The abdication of King Juan Carlos is not unrelated to this atmosphere, which has not come out of the blue.
In the course of the last four years, the Spanish working class, the youth, and millions of common people, forgotten and crushed by the social and economic crisis, have become the protagonists in an almost continuous wave of mass mobilizations, that is still in its upswing, despite the absolute passivity of the trade union leaderships of the UGT and the CCOO [the biggest unions in Spain], who hold the greatest power in the country to call for mobilizations.
The most significant thing is the political consequences that these mobilizations are having and the increasingly anti-capitalist character of the slogans and demands of the movements, directed against the bankers and big business.
It is now time to launch a popular mobilization on the streets to demand the beginning of a constituent process to do away with the old regime, to immediately hold a referendum for the people to decide between monarchy and republic, and to push for a new constitution and a democratic republic that grants full democratic rights to the population and peoples that make up the Spanish state. But we must connect the latter with the expropriation of the Spanish oligarchy (formed by no more than 100 families) that controls the commanding heights of the economy, in order to put them into the control of the working class and the whole of society, allowing us to plan the economy in the interests of the vast majority.
A new generation of young working-class, youth, and social fighters are becoming more and more experienced in the course of the struggles, and this is just the beginning. The struggle for a republic will not stop this time on the limits of capitalism but will raise the slogan “We want a Socialist Republic”, and this will have repercussions not only in the Spanish state but also abroad.
Here we collect other videos and images taken by anonymous protesters and that we have taken from the social media:
Granada: lowering the monarchical flag and hoisting the republican one.