The debate over how and whether to lock down Madrid, the epicenter of Spain’s second wave of the virus, is moving to the courtroom as the region challenges a national decree that would lock down the capital and prevent Madrid-area residents from traveling to other parts of the country.
The region has so far opted for a selective lockdown of about one million residents in some of its worst-affected and mostly working-class areas. The decree presented on Wednesday by the central government would extend the lockdown to about 4.8 million residents, preventing them from traveling to any other part of Spain unless for work or other exceptional reasons.
“Our region is not in rebellion, we will follow it (the decree) but we will go to court to defend the legitimate interests of Madrilenians,” Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the regional leader of Madrid, said on Thursday, speaking before her regional Parliament.
The limited lockdown now in force has prompted demonstrations and put a spotlight on the line between rich and poor.
The latest turn in the battle over the lockdown came after a meeting on Wednesday during which a majority of the 17 regions backed the government, but Madrid was among a handful of regions to reject it. The split largely reflected the polarization of Spanish politics. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez leads Spain’s first left-wing coalition government, while Ms. Díaz Ayuso heads a right-wing coalition in Madrid.