Hundreds of Thousands Protest Spanish Prime Minister’s Deal With Separatists

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Previous demonstrations in recent weeks have turned ugly, with right-wing soccer hooligans and other extremists infiltrating the crowds. Some protests organized by Vox turned violent as its supporters vandalized the Socialist party’s headquarters. On Saturday, Pedro Gil, 57, walked in front of the headquarters, protected by 11 riot vans and the police as he headed to the protest.

“The deal is corruption,” he said, with a Spanish flag tied around his waist. He said the prime minister’s deal with Together for Catalonia essentially put the secessionists above the law. Nevertheless, he acknowledged with a shrug, “Sánchez is going to be president, of course.”

As early as this week, Parliament is expected to vote to give Mr. Sánchez, who has enough support, a new term in office. While the details of the deal that cleared the way for him were not clear, it appears to allow self-exiled separatist leaders, including Mr. Puigdemont, to return to Spain, and possibly even run for office again.

The Junts party has said that it will continue to press for a referendum on Catalan independence but that it will no longer do so unilaterally and illegally. Instead, it will, as the constitution stipulates, seek the authorization of the prime minister, Parliament and Spain’s king. To the fury of many of the protesters on Sunday, the Junts will continue to demand that Catalonia, a wealthy region, keeps more of its tax revenues.

Hana Jalloul Muro, who heads international policy for the Socialist party, said that the deal was a reflection of the dialogue that had made the party popular in Catalonia and “lowered the tension” there. It would disarm the explosive secession issue, bringing more, not less, unity to Spain, she argued.

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