One thousand nine hundred and thirty-one days after the historic 8-O demonstration in Barcelona to stop the coup, tens of thousands of Spaniards also went to the Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid to tell President Pedro Sánchez that Spain is not for sale.
The Foro España Cívica and the Fundación Libertad Alternativa called on us to protest against the serious situation of global political, economic and social crisis that, in their opinion - and ours - our country is going through.
Behind this call were also platforms such as Libres e Iguales, Neos, Dignidad y Justicia, Convivencia Cívica Catalana, Unión 78, Asociación por la Tolerancia and the heroic young people of S'Acabat. And so on, up to a hundred.
The manifesto and the applause of the audience were summed up in a clear message to Pedro Sánchez: resign!
A simple slogan
"For Spain, democracy and the Constitution". The philosophy is simple. All good Spaniards understand it. The people against Sánchez because Don Pedro is against the majority of Spaniards, against democracy and against the Constitution". We had more than a hundred reasons to take to the streets again before slashing our veins for the course and the Caesarist trajectory of this government. And the weather gave us the gift of a spring day.
The twelve o'clock appointment was delayed by twenty minutes: the music of 78 began much earlier to warm up the atmosphere as people surrounded the "Madrid goddess". Spanish flags, arriving from all over the country by car, bus and even plane, blocked the traffic in Madrid from north to south and from east to west.
The hymns of the transition sounded as if they had just been recorded for this meeting. Mi querida España" (Cecilia), "Libertad sin ira" (Jarcha) and "Mediterráneo" (Serrat). Those of us present suddenly recovered half a century of life, dreams and hopes.
Simultaneously, dozens of messages fed the big screen in front of the City Hall with colour photos and a common slogan. "Barcelona... is like this. And Spain... is like this". "Mérida... is like this. And Spain... is like this". Segovia, Granada, Malaga... All our cities, all our people were there. We all felt... Spain. The messages against the Executive, always respectful.
A massive, civic and combative, tolerant and democratic response
The young spokespersons of the manifesto, Julia Calvet and Nacho Trillo, in loud and clear voices, alternated without lowering the credibility of their convictions. They flooded the sky with emotions. We heard truths like fists: "the seditionists have been pardoned. ETA prisoners have been released through the back door and the Penal Code has been modified at the dictate of the transgressors themselves; the sentences for embezzlement have been reduced to the point of ridicule". And I add: no politician returns what has been stolen (Arrimadas, next to me, nods).
After reminding us of the colonisation of the institutions by the government, the announcers went over the people who have been placed with them (Tezanos (CIS), Sánchez (RTVE); those who have fallen in disgrace (heads of EFE, CNI and INE) and the assault on the TC (Applause and shouts of Sánchez, resign!).
After denouncing the limitations on the Head of State, the CGPJ, the Court of Auditors and the Bank of Spain, those present were reminded of the abuse of Royal Decree-Laws, the emergency legislative procedure, the theft of debate, the disregard for the mandatory reports of the Council of State and the Attorney General's Office; and the improper amendments that create enabling laws". (Hitler, 1933), this columnist points out.
Julia revealed the parliamentary marketing and Nacho unveiled the constitutional mutational plan that the social-communist government is keeping hidden, agreed with populists, secessionist nationalism and heirs of the ETA terror. In short, to change the Constitution through misrepresentation and ideological interpretation. (The people are shouting again: Resignation!
The newspaper archives, like cotton wool, do not deceive. Nacho reminded us that Spaniards did not vote for what is happening: "entry into government of the populists, no support for the coup plotters, bringing Puigdemont to justice, full compliance with the sentences of the rebels, that he would never agree with Bildu and fight against corruption and democratic regeneration". He has done - I can confirm - just the opposite. President Pedro Sánchez has not lied to his electorate; he has betrayed us all.
"The Latin American experience teaches us", continued Nacho Trillo, "that it is no longer necessary to have a military or violent coup d'état to turn our systems into a mere democratic formality empty of content; it is enough to turn the rule of law into a caricature; this is a serious threat".
Julia Calvet, on behalf of all the convening groups, finally called on civil society and parties committed to the constitutional order to reject the (authoritarian) political drift and defend our democratic values.
The government and the Socialist Party - the manifesto concludes - should take note of the massive opposition to their political pacts; at this point, the Foro por la Libertad and Alternativa on behalf of the organisers, demand: "a united Spain of free and equal citizens, a strong democracy and a Nation with vigour and energy to oppose its enemies and advance towards a common future". (More applause from the entire Plaza de Cibeles and the surrounding streets in unison: Sánchez, resign!)
The conveners hope that this is the first step for a government that has described this democratic meeting as exclusionary. We already know that to be against Sanchezism is to be faças and ultra-right.
The old clock in the Palacio de Correos y Telecomunicaciones, which for so many years gave us the time on RNE's El Parte, was almost forty minutes past twelve. The presenters paused while they again insisted on the resignation of the president and his government as a whole. Moncloa and Sanchismo are not interested. Like someone who hears rain.
The event ended with the national anthem after the three customary salutes: Long live the Constitution, Long live the King and Long live Spain!
The political parties
The invitation was people-driven. Civil society. The parties have taken a back seat. We have not missed Feijoó who "prefers motions at the ballot box". That's up to him. We were hurt by the absence of Isabel Díaz Ayuso. One tweet is not enough, dear president.
In the press area next to the stage, Fernando Sabater, Rosa Díaz, Mayor Oreja, María San Gil, Ambassador Javier Rupérez, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, Maite Pagaza, Begoña Villacís and a splendid Inés Arrimadas, among other democratic citizens, gathered. The Vox leadership, led by Santiago Abascal, preferred to mingle with the people.
It was beautiful to be reunited with freedom and democracy, threatened now as they were five years ago. We were in Barcelona on 8 October 2017 and this Saturday we have been in the heart of the capital of the Kingdom.
I wonder if so much illusion and so much positive energy can be translated into something as practical as uniting to end this endless and nightmarish legislature. Let's hope that PP, Vox and the new CS will come up with a joint alternative for the next elections in May. We only know one thing: that Pedro Sánchez has a hidden pact with ERC and Bildu and that his decrees have made him the greatest protector of criminals. Don't forget it today and next May 28th.
While decent people cleared the streets of Alcalá, Paseo del Prado and Recoletos, the organisers closed the event with José Manuel Soto's anthem, "Soy español" (I am Spanish), chanted by the people gathered like the rest of the songs of the beginnings of democracy. The Transition, the crowning work of President Adolfo Suárez, Torcuato Fernández Miranda and King Emeritus Juan Carlos I himself, is still alive. We have grown old with dignity.
Tomorrow, another meeting with the Magna Carta, freedom and democracy in Barcelona. My fellow Catalans. You are not alone.