INTRODUCTION: Millions of Spaniards took part in demonstrations on Friday (27 February) to show their support for the country's democracy -- and their rejection of this week's attempted military coup.
SV Demonstrators in madrid carrying banners through streets. (2 SHOTS)
SV Crowds massed beside and on top of building. (2 SHOTS)
GV & SV Demonstrators in Barcelona with banners parading through streets as crowds look on.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Millions of Spaniards took part in demonstrations on Friday (27 February) to show their support for the country's democracy -- and their rejection of this week's attempted military coup. In Madrid, the scene of Monday's attack on Parliament by two hundred rebel Civil Guards, a number of small bombs exploded along the route of the demonstration. But they went off before the march started, and no one was hurt.
SYNOPSIS: By far the largest number of demonstrators turned out in Madrid, where official estimates put the number of marchers at up to one million four hundred thousand. Similar demonstrations took place in most of Spain's major cities. Monday's rebellion collapsed after 18 hours following the firm intervention of King Juan Carlos, who spoke out strongly in favour of democracy and rallied the support of the military. There were cheers for King Juan Carlos from the demonstrators in Madrid and elsewhere. It was the King who brought democracy to Spain five years ago after the death of Francisco Franco, who ruled as dictator for 40 years.
Responsibility for the bombs set off in Madrid was claimed in a telephone call by an extreme Battalion. The caller warned the bombs had been planted along the route of the march.
In Barcelona, Spain's second city, three hundred and fifty thousand people joined in the demonstration. There were tens of thousand more in Valencia, further south along the Mediterranean coast. It was in Valencia that the local military commander ordered troops and tanks into the streets on Monday night as the rebels attacked the Parliament building in Madrid. The commander has now been arrested, along with three other generals and 20 Civil Guards and military officers in connection with the attempted coup. The demonstrations were a boost for the newly-installed government of Prime Minister Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo.