• Spain's news in English

Spanish royals celebrate national day military parade amid protests

Jessica Jones · 13 Oct 2015, 10:33

Published: 13 Oct 2015 10:33 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia stepped out in Madrid on Monday to celebrate Hispanic Day, Spain’s national day.

Photo: Juan Carlos Rojas/AFP

The day - a national public holiday in Spain - commemorates the day Christopher Columbus reached the Americas in 1492.

October 12th is also Armed Forces Day, when Spaniards pay homage to their fellow countrymen and women who have given their lives for Spain.

Spain’s armed forces staged a parade through the centre of Madrid, which included 3,400 soldiers and military aeroplanes staging a fly past, leaving red and yellow smoke trails representing the Spanish flag.

Photo: Tom Gandolfini/AFP

Thousands of onlookers lined the route, waving Spanish flags and craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the young royals, who were accompanied by their two daughters, Leonor and Sofia.

The celebrations were also attended by Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and his cabinet, as well as Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez.

But not everyone was celebrating. Barcelona’s left-wing mayor Ada Colau refused to take part in the celebrations, calling the day a "celebration of genocide".

The Barcelona mayor tweeted "Ashamed at the state for celebrating a genocide and with a military parade that cost €800,000!"

Many people took to social media with the hashtag #nadaquecelebrar or #nothingtocelebrate to express their feelings about the national day celebrations.

The mayor of Cádiz also criticized the festivities on Twitter: 

"We never discovered America, we massacred and submitted a continent to our culture in the name of God. Nothing to celebrate."

Madrid’s left-wing mayor, Manuela Carmena, did attend the celebrations, meeting King Felipe at a reception in Madrid’s Royal Palace following the parade.

But she met with the ire of the right-wing press for her choice of outfit. Conservative newspaper ABC ran a feature on what the women (and only the women) who attended the parade wore - describing Carmena as looking like "a 1940s postal worker". 

Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP

Story continues below…

In Barcelona, opponents of independence staged a pro-unity demonstration, calling for the northeastern region to remain part of Spain.

Pro-independence parties recently won a majority in Catalonia's regional election, which they had billed as a de facto vote on independence. 

The demonstration also attracted far-right protestors including members of the Falange, the party of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. 

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available