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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Tension on the 35th anniversary of Franco's death (Spain)

Anti-fascist and fascist demonstrators met at Franco's mausoleum

Saturday was the 35th anniversary of the death of Francisco Franco, and saw a group of his supporters coincide with a group of those against the dead dictator at his grave at the Valle de los Caídos, at El Escorial, near Madrid.

The groups could not gain access to the site because of building work and held their demonstrations at the gate. There were no serious incidents.

Two coaches carrying some 100 members of the Madrid Region Memory Forum and the Guadarrama Sierra Social Forum, had permission to hold a demonstration under the slogan ‘Truth, justice and reparation for the victims of Franco’.

The other group was of some 20 who had travelled to the Basilica to pray for and praise Franco. They did not have permission but refused to leave on the orders of the Guardia Civil.

There were shouts of ‘Viva Franco!’ on the one side and ‘We will not forget’ on the other. The chanting and stand-off lasted for some 35 minutes.

It comes as left wing collectives have called for the massive cross which stands on the mountain above the mausoleum to be blown up, considering that it extols fascism.

President of the State Federation for Memory Forums, José María Pedreño, said that the Valle de los Caídos is ‘the only monument which extols fascism to remain in Europe’. He said the grand cross is not a reference to Christianity, but to fascist power – ‘a cross more of crime and bullying’. He said that Franco’s remains, and those of his deputy, Primo de Rivera, should be removed from the site and handed over to their families, and then the archives should be studied to try and identify the remains of the hundreds of people buried at the site, so their remains could also be handed to their families.

Typically Spanish