Friday 20 September 2019

Protesters try to disrupt rally for dictator Franco

Hail Franco: Supporters of Spain’s late dictator Francisco Franco give fascist salutes during a gathering for the anniversary of his death in Madrid. Photo: REUTERS
Hail Franco: Supporters of Spain’s late dictator Francisco Franco give fascist salutes during a gathering for the anniversary of his death in Madrid. Photo: REUTERS

Julie Butler in Madrid

Spanish police were forced to intervene to stop trouble erupting at a rally in Madrid marking the anniversary of military dictator Francisco Franco's death.

Officers on horseback and on foot quickly moved to keep an angry crowd of about 200 away from three topless members of the feminist group Femen who ran into the gathering.

The women had the words "Legal fascism, national shame" painted on their torsos.

Police escorted the three activists away while Franco supporters shouted insults and "Franco! Franco! Franco!"

The rally is held annually on the Sunday falling closest to November 20, the date Franco died in 1975. The general ruled Spain for 36 years after leading a military uprising that started the Spanish Civil War.

Spain's Socialist-led government plans to exhume Franco's remains from the Valley of the Fallen, a mausoleum north-west of Madrid he ordered built as a memorial to the 1936-39 war.

About 34,000 people from both sides of the fighting are buried at the site, most of whose bodies have never been identified.

Applauded by Spaniards on the left, the decision has infuriated others nostalgic for the dictatorship.

Elsewhere yesterday, supporters of the government's plan to move Franco's remains gathered at the Valley of the Fallen.

Irish Independent

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