Thousands of people on Tuesday marched across Spain against Vox, a far-right party whose support will today usher in a new conservative government in Andalusia.
Marching under the slogan “No step back in equality,” crowds demonstrated in Seville, the seat of the Andalusian parliament, but also in Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Málaga and Santiago de Compostela. Around 100 municipalities in total held some form of protest against a party that has made scrapping gender violence laws a signature issue.
On Wednesday, the Andalusian parliament will vote in a new regional premier following an election that took away the Socialist Party (PSOE)’s absolute majority and gave 12 seats to the upstart Vox.
While Vox itself will not be part of the new government, it has pledged to support a coalition of the Popular Party (PP) and Ciudadanos (Citizens) that will end 36 years of Socialist administrations in Spain’s most populated region.
In exchange, the far-right party wants to roll back what it sees as unfair gender violence legislation that “criminalizes” men, and to create a family affairs department to foster policies that will drive up the birth rate and address “the drama of abortion.”
Feminist groups have vowed to fight Vox every step of the way. Tuesday’s protests were organized by more than 140 associations, and drew mostly female crowds that held up signs reading: “They are not deaths, they are murders,” a reference to victims of gender violence in Spain. Last year, 47 women were killed by their current or former partners.
The largest demonstration took place in Seville, where around 3,000 people congregated in Plaza Nueva, near City Hall. “They are not going to steal the future away from my granddaughters, I refuse,” said Teresa López, a demonstrator who carried a sign with the message: “Equality: no more, no less.” Another marcher, Remedios Gil, added: “They are our rights, it’s taken a lot of hard work to earn them, and we will not allow [Vox] to do whatever they want with them. We will be standing right in front of them if they do.”
In the Galician city of A Coruña, demonstrators read a manifesto rejecting Vox’s traditional vision of women: “We don’t want to go back to a social model from the past that has been overcome by the new generations of women.”
Following the first debate inside the Andalusian parliament on Tuesday, a second session will be held today, followed by a vote. Barring a last-minute surprise, Juan Manuel Moreno will secure an absolute majority of votes: 26 from his own PP, 21 from Ciudadanos and 12 from Vox. The inauguration is scheduled for Friday.
English version by Susana Urra.