300.000 marched in Madrid demanding changes on Prime Minister policies. For the first time in years the Socialist opposition is ahead on the polls.
Wearing oil stained jumpsuits and anti-Aznar banners, hundreds of thousands marched on Sunday to protest Government's handling of the Prestige disaster and country's policy on Iraq. Demonstrations took place in more than 50 cities all over the Kingdom, but the Government insists on supporting Bush on US plans for Middle East.
"Aznar, if you want oil, look in Galicia, not Irak", read a banner, summarizing both main claims: the Prestige oil spillage considered the country's worst ecological disaster and the Spanish policy in the UN Security Council. Demonstrators ridiculed Aznar, calling the Prime Minister and his ministers everything from arrogant to absent.
Notwithstanding, Aznar's will to keep on supporting Washington and London position at the UN Security Council remains undamaged. On Monday, the Spanish Government cooperated with the UK Foreign Minister, Jack Straw, to release the draft of a new resolution to threat Iraq with the use of force if not completely disarmed.
Aznar expects a quick solution on the Iraqi affair, as his popularity slumps while his party, the PP, looses support looking forward the elections on May 25. Actually, for the first time in years, the Socialists of the PSOE are ahead in the polls and their candidate Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is the most popular politician of the country.
Recent surveys reveal that 40% of the Spanish have a negative opinion on Aznar's Government, while only 2.3% of the people support his foreign policy. According to the local newspaper "El Mundo", this shows a "dramatic change" on country's public opinion as the Socialist opposition is now in position to win the next elections scheduled for May. The ecological tragedy of the Prestige, which still leaks oil, harassed Aznar's Government, as proved by the massive presence of demonstrators from Galicia on weekend's marches. The region was the most seriously affected by the accident that also damaged French and Portuguese coasts.
"Nunca Mais!" or never more, was the slogan of a protest that exceeded all the previous estimations. Even the organizers were taken by surprise by the multitude and had to reschedule the demonstration.
Protesters demanded government officials step down over the disaster. So far, no one in the central government has resigned, and only one official in the regional government has stepped down. "Aznar has to understand that there is no impunity," said protester Alberto Carballo, a 26-year-old travel agent. "In politics, when you make a mistake, you have to assume responsibilities." Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina
Photo (www.whitehouse.gov): Bush-Aznar: The Spanish Prime Minister may pay a high price for this alliance.