THOUSANDS of protesters gathered in Madrid to rally in defence of rural Spain and its traditions including hunting.
National Police estimated around 6,000 demonstrators took to the streets of the Spanish capital. They were joined by members of the conservative Partido Popular (PP), the leftist Podemos, the centrist Ciudadanos and the far-right Vox including PP leader Pablo Casado.
Protesters marched with banners featuring slogans including: “Long live the hunt” and “Farmer, protector of the environment”.
Carlos Bueno, one of the demonstration’s organisers, said rural Spain was becoming empty.
“The towns are abandoned and in the meantime urban society has not realised the gravity of this human, territorial, ecological and strategic drama that affects us all,” Bueno said.
Protesters also demonstrated against a suspension of hunting in Castilla y Leon following a ruling from the region’s High Court.
The protest comes after Spain’s Territories Minister Meritxell Batet previously said depopulation was the “biggest challenge” facing the country.