Thousands of protesters against the increase in the cost of living in Spain

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Spain on Saturday to protest rising food, energy and fuel prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

Rallies were held in the country’s main cities, called by the far-right Vox party, which profits from discontent over the rising cost of living and households’ difficulties in paying their bills.

In front of the Madrid city hall, several thousand people gathered, brandishing Spanish flags and shouting slogans calling for the resignation of the prime minister, the socialist Pedro Sánchez.

“Sánchez rat, we want cheap electricity”, “Sánchez rubbish, lower the bill”, they shouted.

“We have the worst possible government at the worst possible time. What’s more, we don’t have a government, in fact we have a factory of misery that continues to loot and plunder workers with abusive taxes,” Vox leader Santiago Abascal said under the acclamations of those present.

“We are not going to leave the streets until we drive out this illegitimate government,” he added.

Anabel, a 56-year-old protester, who did not give her last name, said that “I am not from any political party. At home we can hardly turn on the heating because it costs almost twice as much as it did 6 months ago and the car is simply not used.”

“Electricity and gas prices are rising and they say it’s because of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, but it’s a lie. That’s how it was before,” he told AFP.

Last year, energy prices rose 72% in Spain, one of the biggest increases in the European Union, and costs have risen further since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, Spanish drivers declared an unlimited strike over fuel prices, which escalated into multiple roadblocks and demonstrations.

The price increase also prompted the UGT and the CCOO, the two largest Spanish unions, to call a national strike for March 23.

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