Anti-NATO protesters gathered in Madrid on Sunday ahead of a summit of the Western alliance in the Spanish capital in the coming week.
The demonstrators called for NATO to be dissolved and for military bases maintained by the United States in Spain to be closed. The organizers put the number gathered at 30,000, while the authorities said 2,200 participated in the march through central Madrid.
They held up banners with "No to NATO, No to War, For Peace," as they marched from Atocha station to Plaza España some 2.5 kilometres away.
The rally, which was accompanied by a large police presence, went off peacefully. The Spanish government has banned another rally planned for Wednesday, the first day of the two-day NATO summit, on security grounds.
According to media reports, representatives of the Unidas Podemos (UP) party, the coalition partner of the socialist PSOE of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, took part in the march. While the UP has abandoned its previous policy of taking Spain out of NATO, it remains critical of the alliance.
A virtual fortress
Madrid is set to be turned into a virtual fortress during the two-day summit. More than 10,000 police and other security forces will provide protection to the representatives of some 40 countries attending the summit.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said that to date no specific threat had been identified.
The summit is being held in the shadow of the war in Ukraine and is expected to take decisions on strengthening NATO's military and deterrence capacities.