Thousands protest healthcare policies in Madrid

STORY: Trade unions, healthcare workers, left-wing politicians and Madrid residents, young and old, marched, sang songs and banged drums during the protest.

Organisers said the regional government’s cuts in funding and staff have increased waiting lists and prompted layoffs and job uncertainty. They said despite being Spain’s richest region, Madrid spends the least on primary healthcare.

Four groups marched from different areas of the city and converged on Cibeles, near Madrid’s city hall. Spanish media said there were upwards of 200,000 people at the protest according to local authorities, while organisers put the figure at over 600,000.

Some signs called for the resignation of regional President Isabel Diaz Ayuso, of the centre-right People’s Party. A giant puppet of Ayuso was carried through the crowds.