Spain: Anti-Corruption Protests

Published: 19 July 2013


Spaniards coping with a double-dip recession, rising unemployment, and spending cuts have started protesting, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over another corruption scandal.

Thousands have taken to the streets in Madrid and Barcelona, resulting in violent clashes with police.

Prior to winning the 2011 election Rajoy and other officials in the ruling People’s Party allegedly received payoffs from a slush fund, a practice that’s been going on for more than a decade. The issue resurfaced after the Spanish daily El Mundo published text messages from Rajoy to former party treasurer, Luis Barcenas, telling him to “be strong” as he was being investigated for running a slush fund. The public is outraged over that show of support.

Barcenas is in jail awaiting trial on fraud and corruption charges.

Opposition leaders are calling for Rajoy to explain himself in front of parliament, threatening to call a censure vote.

“The situation is unbearable. It's impossible for a government to function with this focus on the scandal. The solution is to elect a new leader in the party," one senior member of the party, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.