29th May 2024
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Third rally demanding better healthcare in Madrid sees over 250,000 protesters

Over 250,000 people rallied in Madrid on Sunday for the largest protest yet against the regional government’s management of the city’s health care services.

Organisers claimed almost a million people joined the demonstration to demand that the regional government — accused of prioritising private health — put more resources into the public system. Officials said 250,000 people turned out.

Many protesters carried signs with messages in Spanish like ‘The right to health is a human right. Defend the health service’ and ‘Health is not for sale’.

Health worker associations led the demonstration, which was backed by left-wing political groups, unions and other citizens concerned with what they see as the dismantling of the public health care system by the Madrid regional government led by the right-wing People’s Party (PP), with Isabel Díaz Ayuso as regional president.

The primary care system in the Madrid area has been under pressure for years due to a lack of resources. So people are increasingly turning to hospital emergency departments, overwhelming them with patients in a situation also seen in some other regions.

Ayuso alleges the protests are motivated by the political interests of left-wing rivals ahead of May regional elections across most of Spain.

Careworkers were among the protesters banging drums and blowing whistles across the capital before converging on city hall.

Sunday’s protest was the third demanding more resources for health organised by groups representing Madrid residents over the last three months.

The last protest was held on 15 January and the first on 13 November, when 200,000 people turned out, according to an official count.

Some primary care doctors and paediatricians have been striking on and off since 21 November, with the Amyts doctors’ union in Madrid seeking better working conditions and pay.

ALSO READ: 30,000 rally in Madrid again to protest healthcare cuts by regional government.

ALSO READ: At least 200,000 rally in Madrid in defence of public healthcare.

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