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Spain's 'flour war' takes aim at corruption

George Mills · 29 Dec 2014, 09:41

Published: 29 Dec 2014 09:41 GMT+01:00

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Around 3,000 residents of the town in Ibi in Spain's Valencia region on Sunday attacked each other with flour and rotten eggs in an annual festival with serious political undertones.

The festival known as Els Enfarinats (the Floured Ones) sees rowdy participants stage a mock coup against local authorities.

During Sunday's rebellion, which coincided with Spain's December 28th equivalent of April Fool's Day, the town's new rulers engaged in a noisy — and messy — battle with a group known as the L’Oposició (The Opposition).   

More than 1,500 rotten eggs were thrown while hundreds of kilograms of flour were tossed about as the Els Enfarinats revolutionaries tried to consolidate their brief stint in power, regional daily La Verdad reported. 

SEE ALSO: Spain's top ten craziest festivals

A unique feature of the festival in Ibi sees the town's temporary leaders taking up a collection with money which is gathered by imposing fines on people who break absurd new laws introduced for the day.

But the winter event, thought to have its origins in the Roman Saturnalia festival, is not all fun and games.

This year the money raised by the collection went to a local old people's home, while there was also a serious political undercurrent as Spain deals with rampant corruption among its politicians.

"The (Els Enfarinats coup) was what a lot of people would like, a little local revolution, but it would be better if it were bigger," Eva Mayol, a 28-year-old biologist who took part in the battle told Spain's El País newspaper. 

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The previous mayor of the town, Mayte Parra with the country's ruling conservative Popular Party (PP), was dismissed from office after a motion of no-confidence. Three councillors under her administration are currently being investigated over allegations of bribery and money laundering.

"What we need is genuine renovation, people are tired of hearing the same thing, the arrival of (the hugely popular new anti-austerity party) Podemos has forced us to take the path which we should have gone on ourselves," the town's new mayor Rafael Serralta, also with the PP, told El País. 

Valencia is widely considered to be the 'capital of corruption' in Spain.

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George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

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