Spain protests return of ex-King Juan Carlos
Former Spanish King Juan Carlos I came back to Spain on a visit from his self-imposed exile in the UAE, much to the distaste of the country's people.
Hundreds of Spaniards took to the streets in Madrid on Sunday to protest against the return of former king Juan Carlos I to Spain. His visit comes after almost two years of self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates, and it sparked large-scale criticism from the people.
The demonstrators gathered near the Spanish capital's royal palace holding signs reading "Justice" and "The Bourbon in prison". A government spokesperson put their number at 300.
Juan Carlos returned this week to Spain for the first time since August 2020 to attend a regatta, i.e. boat or yacht races, after probes into corruption and money laundering were suspended in March.
The former king, 84, was highly respected due to his role in transitioning Spain into a democracy following the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, but the public opinion quickly shifted after revelations about the opaque origins of his fortune ruined his image for many Spaniards.
He will be visiting his son, King Felipe VI, in Madrid on Monday before returning to Abu Dhabi, UAE, his new permanent residence.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's government still expects "explanations" from Juan Carlos, who abdicated in favor of Felipe in 2014. Media reports say the government opposes his staying at the Zarzuela Palace, the residence and working offices of the reigning monarch.