Thousands of Spanish citizens took to the streets of Madrid over the weekend in protest at the obligatory use of face masks and other restrictions imposed by the Spanish government to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
It is thought that around 3,000 protesters congregated in the capital’s Plaza de Colón after the protest was promoted via social media with the backing of public figures including Spanish singer Miguel Bosé.
Demonstrators signed a manifesto “against the false pandemic” objecting against the measures implemented by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his government designed to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Attendees also doubted the accuracy of PCR tests used to detect the virus and denied that those who were asymptomatic were able to transmit the virus to others.
Demonstrators gathered for a number of hours chanting and holding placards that read, “We want to see the virus,” “We are not afraid,” and “What kills is 5G” which was a reference to the conspiracy theory that the latest 5G standards used in high-speed mobile telecoms were linked to COVID outbreaks.
A number of high-profile campaigners attended the demonstration including anti-vaccination campaigner Josep Pàmies who encouraged the attendees to convince others in their neighbourhoods that they should not be concerned about Coronavirus.
Poet and photographer Ouka Leele was also present and encouraged others to not be afraid and to breathe.
“To be healthy we have to live,” she said. “We can’t live like zombies with masks on in the streets.”
Unfortunately, the crowd of just a few thousand was far fewer than had been anticipated with organisers expecting to attract around one million.
A police officer at the demonstration said, “We can’t deal with all of the people who are not wearing masks, but normally we would fine them”.
“We are not denying that the virus exists, but just the measures that have been taken to deal with it,” said Pablo Rivero, 58, who had attended the demo after travelling to the capital from Navarre in the north of the country.
“The number of deaths that we’ve had doesn’t justify the country’s economy being stopped.”
Others were concerned about the impact that the virus and the government measures would have on their children.
Carmen López said that she had joined the protest because she didn’t want her two children to grow up with the fear of a lie created by the government.
The vast majority of protesters did not wear masks despite it currently being the law across the country, which has seen a big surge in infections since the lifting of the lockdown in June.
The wearing of masks was initially imposed on the country’s citizens in May as a requirement for those using public transport and was later expanded throughout the country.
The protests come just a couple of days after the government announced new measures to further restrict the spread of the virus including the closure of discos and a ban on smoking in public areas where social distancing is not possible.
Source: El Pais
January 14, 2021