Tens of thousands of people have staged a protest rally in the Spanish city of Valencia, calling on the central government in Madrid to allocate more funding to the autonomous community of the same name.
More than 60,000 demonstrators took to the main streets of the city on Saturday, expressing discontent with what they called the unfair distribution of budget to Valencia.
Waving Valencia’s regional flags, the protesters demanded that the Spanish government revise the country’s financial system in order for a fairer distribution of funding to autonomous communities.
“We came to this demonstration to ask and to demand that the financial distribution to the autonomous communities become fairer and more balanced with the population and with the investments we have,” said Cloti Iborra, a participant at the peaceful rally.
“We are an autonomous region that... [is] underfunded; we pay more than what we receive. We pay as a rich community, when in reality we are poor; we have higher unemployment, lower wages,” she added.
The Saturday demonstration enjoyed the support of all political parties in Spain except the ruling conservative People’s Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
The Spanish prime minister’s government has already had to cope with a secession bid in Catalonia, which is also an autonomous region and which neighbors Valencia in northeastern Spain.
Madrid has had to sack the regional government in Catalonia over its defiant bid to gain independence from Spain following a referendum that was held illegally on October 1.
Anti-government sentiments still run deep in Catalonia as people favoring independence stage back-to-back rallies on the streets and urge Madrid to free jailed leaders and activists.