Spanish king and president to visit SEAT Martorell factory this week
Monarch was met with widespread protests on last trips to Catalonia
The king of Spain will visit Catalonia later this week to visit the factory of car manufacturer SEAT, located in the town of Martorell just outside Barcelona, along with Spanish president Pedro Sánchez.
The visit was due to take place in December but was postponed due to Sánchez's quarantine after meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron, who tested positive for Covid-19.
The trip to the car factory comes at a time of friction between the royal house and the Socialists’ coalition partner, Podemos, over the financial scandals surrounding the king's father, Juan Carlos, including paying a settlement of over €4 million with the tax offices in February 2020.
Pedro Sánchez said last week he was uncomfortable with the "uncivil attitudes" of the former monarch, but he backed separating the actions of one individual from the institution of the monarchy as a whole.
The trip will be the king’s first to Catalonia since October when he and the head of the Spanish government took part in an awards ceremony for the Barcelona New Economy Week in the Estaçio de França train station.
Then, the royal’s arrival was met with several protests that gathered over a thousand people who booed and whistled the king’s arrival and chanted for independence and a republic.
Spain’s king and president will be visiting Catalonia during a time of great social unrest, as frequent protests, demonstrations, and riots have been taking place since the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel on February 16.
Catalonia’s major cities and towns have seen clashes between police officers and protesters calling for Hasel’s release, a ‘total amnesty’, and Catalan independence.
Hasel was sentenced to prison for 'glorification of terrorism' and 'slander against the Spanish crown and law enforcement' for the content of some tweets and lyrics.
Junior partner in the Spanish government, Podemos, recently officially requested a pardon for Hasel, as well as another rapper wanted for similar crimes who is living in exile in Belgium, Valtònyc.