Around 1,500 anti-NATO protesters took to the streets of Madrid on Sunday, just two days ahead of the 2022 NATO Summit.
Chanting "No to war" and calling Spain's progressive government "imperialist," the protesters, mainly from the far-left of the political spectrum, marched through Paseo del Prado boulevard.
Spain's Defense Minister Margarita Robles, however, was quick to point out that the anti-NATO activists were a "clear minority" in Spain, speaking in an interview with news agency EFE on Sunday.
A poll published by Spanish think tank Elcano this week found that 83% of the country's population supports NATO.
This week, the Spanish capital will be dominated by the military alliance, as NATO leaders are set to meet in Madrid to discuss what could be its largest military deployment since the end of the Cold War.
The NATO Summit will run from Tuesday to Thursday, with talks expected to center on NATO's response to the war in Ukraine and the Finnish and Swedish petitions to join the alliance.
Robles said that Spain, as a close ally of Türkiye, is offering to act as an intermediary to reach an agreement around the two Nordic countries joining NATO.
The host country will also push the alliance to consider threats from its southern flank in Africa. Not only is Spain in a diplomatic spat with Algeria, but on Friday, at least 27 people died while trying to cross the land border from Morocco into the Spanish-controlled city of Melilla in North Africa, met with a brutal response from Spanish and Moroccan authorities.
This year's summit will gain further historical importance because the alliance will be adopting its new strategic concept, which will lay out NATO's purpose and plans for the next decade.
"We are on track to have a really historic and transformative summit in Madrid," said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in an interview with EFE on Friday. "We face a dangerous, more competitive world and therefore it is extremely important that all allies will come together and make important decisions in Madrid."