21 Mar 2022
Thousands took to the streets across Spain over the weekend to protest over skyrocketing costs of food, electricity and fuel, which have worsened since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The rallies in the country’s major cities were called by the far-right Vox party, as households over Spain struggle with the soaring cost of living.
Several thousands of people gathered outside Madrid’s City Hall, waving Spanish flags and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
"Sanchez, you're rubbish, bring down our bills!" they shouted, between chants of "Long live Spain!" at a rally urging the government to take action to lower prices.
"We have the worst possible government... It's not even a government, it's a misery factory... which plunders and extorts workers through abusive taxes," said Vox leader Santiago Abascal.
"We will not leave the streets until this illegitimate government is expelled."
This government "is taking everything from us", said one protestor. "They hike the light and gas prices and say it's because of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, but that's a lie. It was like this before," she told AFP news agency.
"Light prices really affect (my family) because some of us work from home, and we can hardly put the heating on because the price of gas has almost doubled over the past six months."
Energy prices soared in Spain by 72% last year, one of the highest rises in the European Union. Since the war in Ukraine, prices have moved higher still.
Last week, Spanish truck drivers began a strike over fuel prices which led to several roadblocks and protests resulting in supply chain issues. In addition, the rising prices have led two of the country’s largest unions, the UGT and the CCOO, to call a national strike on 23rd March.
The government has vowed to take action to reduce the cost of energy and fuel, with the plans being set out on 29th March.