Thousands protest against new Spanish government

Thousands of protesters gathered outside Madrid's city hall on Sunday (January 12) to protest the new Spanish coalition government formed by the Socialist Party and Unidas Podemos.

MADRID (REUTERS)-Thousands of protesters gathered outside Madrid's city hall on Sunday (Jan 12) to protest the new Spanish coalition government formed by the Socialist Party and Unidas Podemos.

Waving Spanish flags and shouting "Long live the King" and "Long live Spain", the protesters listened to a speech by far-right VOX party leader Santiago Abascal, who called on Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to defend the constitution and Spanish unity.

After nearly a year of caretaker governments, Mr Sanchez narrowly won parliamentary backing on Tuesday (Jan 7) for Spain's first coalition government in decades. The development ended a long political stalemate but left him reliant on a fragile patchwork of alliances to pass laws.

Mr Sanchez and his coalition ally Pablo Iglesias, the leader of left-wing Unidas Podemos, now want to roll back some of the labour reforms passed by a previous conservative government and push for tax increases on high-income earners and companies. But the two parties between them hold just 155 of the 350 seats in a deeply fragmented parliament.