Thousands of far-right protesters marched through Madrid on Saturday, demanding “social aid” for Spaniards and holding banners and placards reading “Spaniards Welcome,” a play on the “Refugees Welcome” movement currently organising across Europe.
About 10% of Spain’s 46 million people are foreigners, according to the National Statistics Institute.
Many were drawn by opportunities during a real-estate boom that preceded the crash of 2008. The population has declined each of the past three years due to an outflow of immigrants to their home countries.
With the unemployment rate at 22.4%, many immigrants who remain have had to resort to working in the underground economy.
They are commonly seen on the streets of Spanish cities selling pirated handbags and videos.