Catalans protested a royal visit in Barcelona last week by burning posters of King Felipe VI. The Spanish monarch was in the Catalan capital with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez where he was met by separatists protesters who oppose the monarchy and want Catalonia to break away from the rest of Spain. “He isn’t welcome here,” one protester told Euronews.
“We don’t want a corrupt monarchy which has been crushing us for centuries, coming here, militarising our city, to take some photos and be in front of the press.”
The visit by Spain’s heads of state and government came less than two weeks after Catalonia’s regional leader, Quim Torra, was removed from office by Spain’s Supreme Court.
The court ruled him unfit to hold office after he violated election laws when he refused to remove a banner from public buildings supporting imprisoned Catalan separatists during an official election campaign.
As well as a €30,000 fine, the panel of judges on the court upheld a one-and-a-half-year ban on Torra holding public office imposed by a Barcelona court in December 2019.
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Some small groups of protesters gathered to burn photos of the King on Thursday night, chanting “Catalonia has no king.”
In a recent poll published in July by the Catalan government’s Center for Opinion Studies (CEO) only 15.4 percent of Catalans granted Felipe a score of 5 or above.
While 78.3 percent failed him in a poll specifically on the role various institutions have played during the COVID-19 crisis.
Asked about the king in general in April 2019, those polled gave him an average score of 1.82, and he only merited a pass from 19% of those taking part in the study.
The last time CEO asked the question of monarchy or republic, in March 2020, 71.2 percent of those surveyed preferred the latter, with only 14.4% the former.
Anti-monarchy sentiments have also grown in the UK, though not to the same extent.
Graham Smith, CEO of Republic, an organisation with the primary aim of campaigning for the abolishment of the monarchy in the UK, has repeatedly called for the Royal Family to stop being a financial burden on taxpayers.
Speaking to Express.co.uk’s Svar Nanan-Sen, Mr Smith pointed out that the UK taxpayer does not owe the Queen’s children Princess Anne, Prince Andrew or Prince Edward a house.
Mr Smith said: “There are more than 20 royal residences and we pay for round the clock security for all of them, that needs to come to an end.
“There is some question over who owns Balmoral and Sandringham, it is sufficiently recognised that they are private properties, but they bought them with our money.
“Buckingham Palace could be a world-class tourist destination as an art gallery or museum if they opened up all the rooms and the gardens to tourists all year round.
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“It already houses one of the largest art collections in the world yet most of it is hidden away.
“The same with Windsor Castle, it could be run at a profit just like the Tower of London is and there is no reason why that should not happen.”
The Republic CEO continued: “As for all the other homes around the country, we do not owe Princess Anne a house, she can go and buy her own house.
“We do not owe Prince Andrew or Prince Edward a house, they can go and get their own homes.
“Yet we keep giving them these large extremely plush, luxurious residences in London and elsewhere at the taxpayers’ expense.
“They then require huge spending on security and there just is not any justification for that whatsoever.”