Mayors reported for Francoist symbols

Mayors reported for Francoist symbols
Madrid's mayor, Ana Botella, is one of the 38 Spanish mayors who have had a legal complaint made against them. Photo: Pedro Armestre/AFP
A lawyer has reported 38 Spanish mayors, among them the mayor of Madrid Ana Botella, for failing to remove Franco-era symbols from their towns.

Lawyer, Eduardo Ranz, has made a legal complaint against 38 Spanish mayors, among them the mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, for keeping Francoist symbols in their municipal buildings, thus not complying with Spain’s Historial Memory Law (Ley de la Memoria Histórica).

The display of Francoist symbols in public places was made illegal under the 2007 law, except in cases of artistic or architectural significance, or if the symbol is part of a religious space, and could see the mayors suspended for up to two years if a judge decides that a crime has been committed.  

The Historical Memory Law was passed in 2007 under Spain’s then Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The law recognizes the victims on both sides of the Spanish Civil War, gives rights to victims and their descendants and formally condemns the Franco regime.

Ranz, the lawyer making the complaint, said that the mayors should "respect and support" Civil War victims and that the symbols should be removed "so victims can stop feeling humiliated every time they pass through these cities".

The mayors are from all political stripes and hail from cities such as Seville, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Alicante, Oviedo, Lugo and Cordoba.

In Madrid, Franco-era symbols include the Victory Arch (Arco de Victoria), two stone shields in the Palace of the Holy Cross, now home to Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a fresco in the Defence Ministry and a plaque in the Royal Palace of El Pardo.

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