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Madrid Protesters Decry New COVID-19 Restrictions

Αssociated Press

Pedestrians wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus walk near the aqueduct of Segovia, central Spain, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID — Spaniards are protesting in Madrid against the handling of the coronavirus pandemic by the city's regional head, who has placed new restrictions on neighborhoods with the highest contagion rates.

Wearing face masks and trying to maintain social distancing, protestors clapped in unison while shouting for regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso to step down. The protesters gathered at noon Sunday around the city, making it difficult to estimate the size of the protest.

In the Vallecas neighborhood, protesters chanted “For everyone or no one!” in a criticism of the restrictions Díaz Ayuso announced Friday for some of the poorest areas of Madrid where local authorities say the virus is spreading the fastest.

The restrictions affect around 860,000 people who won’t be able to leave their neighborhoods except for work, study or a medical appointment. Parks in the area are closed and shops and restaurants have to limit occupancy to 50%,

Spain is struggling to contain a second wave of the virus, which has killed at least 30,400 people according to the Spanish Health Ministry. Madrid's rate of transmission is more than double the national average, which already leads European contagion charts.