Thus, for two weeks, punctually at 7:30 p.m., the rosary was prayed without problems or incidents. When the rosary was over, some people on their own initiative joined the nearby citizen demonstrations against the government.
Rosary for Spain banned
The Organic Law that regulates the fundamental right of assembly provides that notice of public events must normally be given to the Government Delegation 10 days in advance. However, the law also provides for at least 24 hours notice to be given for urgent circumstances.
All events to pray the rosary in public during the two weeks prior to Monday, Nov. 27, had been communicated to the Government Delegation, which opted for administrative silence. This means that if there is no response from the administration, it is understood that nothing prevents holding the event.
But on Nov. 27, the Government Delegation gave the order to prevent the recitation of the rosary. At the usual time, numerous officers from the Police Intervention Units (UIP), or riot police, showed up in front of the church where the rosary was being prayed.
According to witnesses, the participants were told by the police that they could not proceed with the prayer, but the faithful continued praying the rosary anyway. The event organizer, José Andrés Calderón, was asked to show his ID and a woman was arrested.
That same night, Calderón announced another decision by the Government Delegation that banned the rosary rallies scheduled for Nov. 28, 29, and 30.
Rosaries in front of the police
The news about the ban announced Nov. 27 meant that at the event on Nov. 28 there was a somewhat more tense atmosphere than usual. Thus, hundreds of people gathered at the site in defiance of the government ban.
The prayer passed without incident until at its conclusion, when those in charge of the large contingent of police that was present went to speak with Calderón to inform him that they were going to fine him as the organizer of the event.
A rumor spread among the participants that Calderón was going to be arrested, so many people crowded around the young man and the National Police officers, defending the right to freely pray the rosary in public.
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While the riot police put on their protective gear in preparation for the possible use of force, those who had come to pray held out their rosaries and formed a solid front facing off with the police, who retreated several meters along Marqués de Urquijo Street, perpendicular to Ferraz Street, where the PSOE headquarters is located.
After about 10 minutes of growing tension, with the participants shouting “Freedom!” and “Go away!” at the police, they decided on their own initiative to move over to adjacent Ferraz Street, where the anti-government protests first began, to continue showing their rejection of the deals made by President Sánchez after the July elections.
Rosary for the unity of Spain
In protest against the prohibitions imposed by the Government Delegation in Madrid, on Nov. 28 the call to hold a national rosary for the unity of Spain on Dec. 8 began to circulate among those present.
The initiative invited people, in a generic way, to gather to pray in front of the cathedral or main church of each town or city on the feast day of the patroness of Spain, the Immaculate Conception, “in communion with the rosary of Ferraz.”
On Nov. 29, despite the prohibition, the faithful gathered again for prayer. On that occasion, there were no moments of tension with law enforcement officers even though that morning, the Provincial Court of Madrid in response to an appeal filed by Calderón had upheld the decision of the Government Delegation.