VIDEO: Dozens in upmarket Madrid neighbourhood ignore social distancing to protest lockdown measures

VIDEO: Dozens in upmarket Madrid neighbourhood ignore social distancing to protest lockdown measures
The protest involving kitchen utensils is known as a 'cacerolada'. Photo: AFP
Residents of Madrid’s upmarket district of Salamanca have been taking to the street and ignoring social distancing orders to protest the socialist government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

For the fourth evening in a row on Wednesday crowds gathered on Nuñez de Balboa to bang saucepans and shout for Sanchez’s resignation in a protest that has been mobilized on social media

The unrest had started gradually weeks earlier when the act of applauding heath workers from open windows and balconies in the nightly 8pm sessions was gradually overtaken by a cacerolada – a Spanish word which describes a spontaneous noisy protest often involving the banging of kitchen utensils.

As well as residents taking part from open windows, the protest on Wednesday included several hundred people gathering in the street, many of them failing to keep the two metres apart required under social distancing.

Some were draped in the Spanish national flag. One man swung a golf club at a street sign while others shouted slogans calling for Sanchez to resign.

“One thing is banging saucepans and everyone has the right to demonstrate as they wish, but another thing is to fail to comply with the measures of the state of alarm,” insisted José Manuel Franco, the Spanish government delegate for Madrid who said police presence would be boosted.  “People must keep their distance and not form crowds, ” he said.

He added that street protests are only allowed with authorization from the council and none had been sought.

At least thirteen individuals have been identified for being in breach of lockdown rules.

Pablo Echenique, the number three in the left wing Unidos Podemos party branded the protests “ridiculous”. Party supporters were behind another cacerolada last month that saw demonstrators bang pots from their windows in protest at royal privilege after revelations that the former king had accumulated money in off-shore funds.

“Members of the upper class hitting street signs with their golf clubs and silver spoons is hardly a cacerolada,” he said adding that what should be taken seriously was a “privileged minority breaking the rules and endangering everyone’s health.”

Parties on the right however voiced support of the protests.

José Luis Martínez-Almeida, the conservative (Popular Party) mayor of Madrid insisted that as long as people observed social distancing they should be free to protest.

While Vox spokesman Iván Espinosa de los Monteros said: “If people want to go out on their balcony or on the street calmly and peacefully, they have the right to do so.”

 

 


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