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Thousands of Spaniards flood into squares in towns and cities across the country to demonstrate for an end to the monarchy. ...
Ever since King Juan Carlos announced last Monday that he planned to abdicate, demands for a referendum on whether Spaniards want a monarchy or a republic have dominated the news. This is the second time in less than a week that anti-monarchists have taken to the streets.
Thousands of Spaniards flood into squares in towns and cities across the country to demonstrate for an end to the monarchy. Ever since King Juan Carlos announced last Monday that he planned to abdicate, demands for a referendum on whether Spaniards want a monarchy or a republic have dominated the news. This is the second time in less than a week that anti-monarchists have taken to the streets. . (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PROTESTER MARIA LUISA, SAYING: "We demand the republic instead of a monarchy. A republic dignifies, we want to be citizens not subjects. In a republic we can demand accountability to the president and we can't with this one (King Juan Carlos). We don't want to be ruled by a corrupt family as the Borbones. A republic is cheaper as well." Many of the demonstrators brought republican flags, shirts and anything else they could find in the colours of the 1930s Spanish republic. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PROTESTER SANTIAGO, SAYING: "The shirt has the colours of the republican Spain. The one from 1931 founded with a democratic constitution approved by all Spaniards. It was the most advanced democracy we have had in our history. So I'm very proud to be Spaniard and republican." People here feel that the abdication announcement has created a rare opportunity for Spain to have a frank discussion on the monarchy. Demonstrations like this one in Madrid were mirrored in cities across the country, calling for a referendum now. Juan Carlos helped to smooth Spain's transition to democracy in the 1970s after the Francisco Franco dictatorship but he had seen his popularity eroded in part by a corruption scandal in the family. A poll at the start of 2013 showed 57.8 percent of young people rejected the monarchy.