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Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets, mostly in the Spanish capital, Madrid, to protest against the rising cost of energy, food and fuel.

“We will not leave the streets until this illegitimate government is expelled,” said Vox chief Santiago Abascal. (Reuters)

Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Spain to protest against soaring prices for food, lighting and fuel, exacerbated by the Russian incursion into Ukraine.

Saturday’s rallies, which took place in major cities across Spain, were called by the far-right Vox party which sought to capitalize on growing social discontent over the skyrocketing cost of living that has left many families struggling to pay their bills.

Outside Madrid’s town hall, a crowd of several thousand gathered, waving hundreds of Spanish flags and chanting angry slogans calling for the resignation of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

“Sanchez, you are garbage, lower our bills! they cried, between the patriotic cries of “Long live Spain!” at a rally demanding government action to bring prices down.

“We have the worst government possible… It’s not even a government, it’s a misery factory… plundering and extorting workers through abusive taxes,” Vox chief Santiago Abascal told the rally under enthusiastic cheers.

“We will not leave the streets until this illegitimate government is removed.”

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“Abandon the People”

Many said the government should cut taxes to help those who are struggling.

“A country that raises prices in this way and does not help its citizens by partially lowering taxes, is abandoning its people,” said Francisco, 53, who is unemployed and did not give his last name.

Spain’s main right-wing opposition party, the People’s Party (PP), has also called on the government to cut taxes immediately.

“Taxes must be lowered immediately! We cannot live with prices that exceed 7.0% and are rising,” new PP leader Alberto Nunez Feijoo said on Saturday, referring to annual inflation in Spain, which jumped to 7.6% in February, its highest level. level in 35 years.

Last year, energy prices soared 72% in Spain, one of the biggest increases in the European Union, and costs have risen further since Russia’s assault on Ukraine in a crisis that follows the pandemic.

On Monday, Spanish lorry drivers declared an indefinite strike over fuel prices that quickly turned into several roadblocks and protests, triggering supply chain issues.

Rising prices also prompted the UGT and CCOO, Spain’s two largest unions, to call a nationwide strike on March 23.

Source: AFP