PP, Vox and Ciudadanos have managed this Sunday to gather thousands of people in the Plaza de Colón in Madrid in the protest against the pardons of the procés prisoners called by Unión 78, a platform promoted by, among others, the former leader of UPyD, Rosa Díez, the philosopher Fernando Savater or the former leaders of the Basque PP Carlos Urquijo and María San Gil. However, Pablo Casado and Inés Arrimadas have prevented it from reproducing the one known as Columbus's photo February 2019, and, in addition, they have received all kinds of boos and accusations of "treason" on the part of various groups of protesters who have instead praised Vox.
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"Pablo Casado, you have abandoned us," they have constantly yelled at the leader of the PP while speaking to the press before the protest, in Genoa 13, and once at the rally. He has been accompanied by the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida and the president-elect of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso who, unlike the leader of his party, has received great ovations with shouts of "Ayuso a la Moncloa ". "Casado and Rajoy are traitors just like Sánchez. The only one who defends the Spanish workers is Santiago Abascal," a citizen who identified himself as Julio Rodríguez, who was carrying a poster against Casado and Rajoy, said early in the morning.
The leader of Ciudadanos, Inés Arrimadas, has also been booed with cries of "traitor", accusing her of having asked the president for permission to go.
Instead, Vox has managed to hegemonize the protest. Flags of the party have been seen and its leader, Santiago Abascal, has received great ovations between shouts of "president".
Nothing to do with the photo of Colón from 2019. Then, the leaders of PP, Vox and Ciudadanos did everything possible to appear in the joint photo. Two years and four months later, that image did not interest any of them, although the concentration in practice has meant a reissue, since the three have come together again - Pablo Casado, Santiago Abascal and, in this case, Inés Arrimadas, replacing Albert Rivera - in the same square and also against the Government of Pedro Sánchez.
Thus, unlike then, this time there has not been a joint image of the leaders of PP and Ciudadanos with the extreme right of Santiago Abascal. That photo has become uncomfortable for both parties, which are trying to stage a moderation that is hampered by their collusion with Vox in autonomies and municipalities. That concentration on February 10, 2019 was a turning point in Spanish politics. For the first time, PP and Ciudadanos –which until then had disputed the same right-wing electorate– normalized the understanding with the extreme right. And Vox was, in fact, the only party that in the long term benefited electorally from that photo of Colón.
In addition, the fact of demonstrating alongside the extreme right has generated in recent weeks a deep internal malaise in their ranks, with a PP divided between the leadership of Casado and the moderate sector - only the most right-wing barons such as Isabel Díaz have attended Colón Ayuso and Fernando López Miras–, and numerous voices within Ciudadanos who, until the last moment, tried to prevent their leader from attending to differentiate themselves from Abascal's party.
The PP, which has tried to trace the strategy it followed in 2006 against the Catalan Statute against pardons, is far from repeating the success of that campaign for the moment. So, in just one week, it achieved 800,000 signatures against the statutory text, while now, in the same period, it has only reached 100,000. This Sunday's protest was also preceded by the one that took place on Friday in Barcelona which, convened by PP and Ciudadanos, it only managed the attendance of 200 people.