Hundreds of thousands have protested in Madrid against the neglect of the health sector. According to the organizers, around 670,000 people gathered after a star march on Sunday at Cibeles Square in the center of the Spanish capital. The Interior Ministry meanwhile estimated the number of demonstrators at 200,000. There were protests against the austerity policy and the plans of the conservative regional government in Madrid to provide some of the emergency care online due to the lack of staff in the public health centers.
Various citizens' initiatives called for participation in the rally under the motto "Madrid rises". Among the participants were well-known artists, in some cases whole families with children and grandparents, politicians from various parties, trade unionists and employees of the public health sector. In addition to more investment, they also called for the resignation of the regional head of government, Isabel Díaz Ayuso.
"The cuts that have been made since 2010 are devastating for public health. The situation is now unsustainable," a doctor at the Hospital de la Princesa told Spanish news agency Europa Press. Another protester was quoted by the agency as saying, "My doctor only has two minutes of surgery for each patient, and she also works in the emergency room. I pay my taxes so the public sector is paramount."