In 30 cities across Spain this week, thousands of people protested government corruption and called for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's resignation. In solidarity with the demonstrations, hacktivist group Anonymous knocked out the ruling People's Party website.
More than 1,000 people gathered outside the headquarters of the People’s Party (PP) in Madrid. They brandished banners and chanted “Hands up, this is a stick up!” “The treasurer has our money!” and “They do not represent us!”
One person has been arrested, while seven police and five protesters were injured in the massive demonstrations.
Furthermore, in Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, Malaga y La Coruna on Thursday masses of activists protested outside party headquarters. Outside PP offices in Valencia demonstrators wrote “Democracy has died here” on the tarmac.
A few hours before the protests began on Thursday, hacktivist group Anonymous infiltrated the People’s Party website. They emblazoned their logo on the homepage of the website under the banner “Government Resignation.” The hacker group published the news on its Twitter feed under the hastags #OpDimisión (Resignation) #FueraLaMafia (Out with the Mafia).
Many protesters wielded chorizo sausages, and in rare cases, cooked them, as symbols of protest.In Spain's slang, "chorizo" also refers to thievery and cheating – the "chorizos" here being Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and ruling Popular Party officials who have come under intense social and political pressure this week following a court-revealed alleged corruption scheme.
The corruption allegations coincide with Spain's worst economic crisis for decades, with record unemployment and many Spaniards struggling to make ends meet.
The PP's former treasurer, Luis Barcenas, is in custody facing trial for corruption and tax fraud. He denies the allegations.
He says he made numerous bonus payments -- in cash -- to Mr. Rajoy and other senior party members, out of the party slush fund of illegal donations by businesses.
Mr. Rajoy and other PP members have repeatedly denied that they received illegal payments.