Monday, November 19, 2007

VALLE DE LOS CAIDOS Hundreds of right-wing supporters paid homage to Francisco Franco, the late Spanish dictator, at his tomb at the weekend, above. It was the last time they will be allowed to gather at the basilica.

A new “historic memory” law, which condemns the Franco era, will soon ban political meetings at the Valle de los Caidos, a huge monument which Franco built northwest of Madrid to remember those who fell in the Civil War from 1936 to 1939.

“It’s absurd to vilify just one side. Why aren’t we allowed to come here and pay tribute to Franco but the leftists can run riot in the cities?” said Raul, 28, dressed in the blue uniform of the fascist Falange party. Franco’s supporters gather at the spot every year on the weekend nearest to November 20, the anniversary of his death in 1975 and the execution 39 years earlier of Falange’s founder, Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera’s.

The law is one of many issues that have highlighted political divisions in Spain ahead of next year’s general election. As Franco’s supporters held a Mass, hundreds of left-wingers gathered in Madrid in protest at the murder of a teenager by a fascist last weekend. In Barcelona, a similar march turned violent. (Reuters)

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