Hundreds of protesters in Madrid on Sunday rallied against the infamous former King Juan Carlos I, whose visit to Spain sparked criticism after nearly two years of self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates.
Demonstrators gathered near the palaces of the Spanish capital, holding placards reading “Justice” and “The Bourbon in Prison.” An official spokesman put the number at 300.
After an investigation into alleged corruption and money laundering was completed in March, Juan Carlos returned to Spain this week to take part in a regatta for the first time since August 2020.
The 84-year-old was hailed for his role in Spain’s democratic transition after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, but revelations about the opaque source of his fate have tarnished his reputation among many Spaniards.
The former king is scheduled to meet his son King Philip VI in Madrid on Monday before returning to his new permanent residence in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.
The government of Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez still expects “explanations” from Juan Carlos, who resigned in 2014 in favor of Felipe. Media reports say the government opposes his stay at Philip’s official residence, the Gerzuela Palace.
But in the northwestern port of Sanjenxo, where Juan Carlos competed in the regatta this weekend, dozens of spectators greeted him, “Long live the king, long live Spain!” Shouts.
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