Hundreds protest return of Spain's exiled ex-king Juan Carlos

AFP - [email protected]
Hundreds protest return of Spain's exiled ex-king Juan Carlos
Protesters hold a Republican flag during an anti-monarchy demonstration in Madrid on May 22, 2022, coinciding with the return to Spain of former king Juan Carlos I. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in Madrid on Sunday against tarnished former king Juan Carlos I, whose visit to Spain after almost two years of self-imposed exile in the UAE has sparked criticism.


Holding signs reading "Justice" and "The Borbón in prison", the demonstrators gathered near the Spanish capital's royal palace. A government spokesman put their number at 300.

Juan Carlos this week returned to Spain for the first time since August 2020 to attend a regatta, after investigations into alleged corruption and money laundering were shelved in March.


The 84-year-old was admired for his role in Spain's democratic transition following the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, but revelations about the opaque origins of his fortune have tarnished his reputation among many Spaniards.

Demonstrators wave a flag of the Second Spanish Republic as they gather to protest against the visit of Spain's former King to attend the regatta of the InterRias trophy of 6M Spanish Cup, in the Galician town of Sanxenxo, northwestern Spain, on May 21st, 2022. Photo: Brais Lorenzo/AFP

The former monarch is due to visit his son King Felipe VI in Madrid on Monday before returning to the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi, his new permanent residence.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's government still expects "explanations" from Juan Carlos, who abdicated in favour of Felipe in 2014. Media reports say the government opposes his staying at the Zarzuela Palace, Felipe's official residence.

But in the northwestern port of Sanxenxo, where Juan Carlos competed in the regatta this weekend, dozens of onlookers welcomed him, shouting "Long live the king, long live Spain!".


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also