Several thousand people - 3,000 according to the central government delegation in Madrid, many more according to organizers - demonstrated on Sunday in front of the national headquarters of the People's Party (PP), on Genova Street.
The protesters chanted slogans in favor of the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, and demanded the resignation of the party's national chief, Pablo Casado.
In the background of this open war within Spain's main opposition party is the intense struggle for power that both Casado and Ayuso have maintained for half a year. Last week, what had been a cold war turned many degrees up and both sides exploded in mutual allegations of corruption, espionage and other illegalities.
On Sunday, the demonstrators cut off traffic access to the central Plaza de Colón and the police had to protect the entrance to the PP headquarters.
During the demonstration, which had not been previously informed or authorized by the central government delegation, there were numerous banners with slogans such as 'Casado resignation', 'Casado coward' and 'Ayuso for president.'
The protest ended shortly before 2:00 p.m. without any violent incidents.
Increasingly irreconcilable factions
Despite the attempts launched in the last two days by the PP's national leadership to silence the conflict, the militants and leaders of the Spanish conservative party continue to be divided into two factions that seem increasingly irreconcilable.
The crisis erupted on Thursday 17 February, after the Spanish media published that someone close to the national leadership of the PP had commissioned an operation to spy on Diaz Ayuso and leaked that her brother had collected more than 280,000 euros in illegal commissions from a contract of the Community of Madrid to buy masks when the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic was at its peak.
The Madrid region president denied the allegations and reacted with an unprecedent impetus. She publicly accused her party comrades of being "the worst of politics" and of attacking her in an "unfair" and "cruel" way, by using her family, to destroy her political leadership.
The national leadership of the PP announced the same day that it would initiate disciplinary proceedings against her and did not rule out her expulsion from the party.
On Friday, the president of Madrid issued a statement in which she explained that her brother had received 55,000 euros from the company Priviet Sportive SL, owned by Daniel Alcázar Barranco, a friend of the Diaz Ayuso family, for the services made in China to be able to acquire the masks. But, according to her, it was not about any commission.
According to El Mundo, Pablo Casado would have accepted this explanation and offered during his Friday meeting with Diaz Ayuso to end the disciplinary proceedings. But in return, he demanded that she publicly deny the existence of the espionage plot. The Madrid president would have refused the offer, according to the version of the newspaper.
Now, with the party divided like never before, there are more and more important conservative leaders - among them the president of Galicia Alberto Nunez Feijoo - who admit that the way to solve this crisis may be to call an extraordinary assembly of the PP, so that los populares elect a new leader.