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12 March: An estimated 1.5 million people filled Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia

The 11 March 2004 Madrid train bombings were followed by an intensive criminal investigation, leading to the arrest of several people, and massive street demonstrations in numerous Spanish cities. Three days after the attacks, the presiding Spanish government was defeated in the Spanish general election.

Spontaneous demonstrations, largely directed against ETA, broke out across Spain on March 11 as the news of the attack became known, in advance of scheduled demonstrations set for the following day at 19:00. [1] Lehendakari (Basque Country President) Juan José Ibarretxe condemned the attacks, saying that "when ETA attacks, the Basque heart breaks into a thousand pieces". He invited the Basque population to demonstrate in silence in front of city halls and municipal buildings.

On 12 March, some 11.4 million people, more than a quarter of Spain's 40 million population, demonstrated in cities across the country. This tally competes with the imprecise figure of 10 million protesters worldwide for the protests against the Iraq war on 15 February 2003, which the Guinness Book of Records listed as the largest mass protest movement in history. On the same day, U.S. President George W. Bush led an observance at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Washington, laying a wreath at the flagpole and speaking there. He also gave interviews with a Spanish television network.[2]

3,000 people gathered before Popular Party headquarters at Calle Génova in Madrid starting after 5 p.m., marching through Puerta del Sol to Atocha after midnight. The demonstration grew to 5,000 people at Atocha. Dwindling, but still in the thousands, demonstrators returned to Popular Party headquarters around 4:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. In Barcelona, a march of 150 people banging pots started around 7:40 p.m. at Rambla de Canaletas and grew to 3,000 before it turned into a demonstration at Plaza de Sant Jaume. 7,000 people demonstrated in front of the Catalan Popular Party headquarters, also in Barcelona. 1,500 people demonstrated in Santiago de Compostela, 1,200 in Zaragoza and 1,000 in Valencia. In other cities gatherings numbered in the hundreds.

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