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Madrid banishes ghosts of Franco from its streets with name changes

The Local · 22 Dec 2015, 11:47

Published: 22 Dec 2015 11:47 GMT+01:00

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Forty years after the death of General Francisco Franco, the Spanish capital city has finally pledged to rid its streets of all signs of the country’s former dictator.

The Comprehensive Plan for the Memory of Madrid, a plan to rid the streets of Madrid of all signs of Franco once and for all was approved on Tuesday with votes from Podemos-backed Ahora Madrid, as well as the Socialists and Ciudadanos.

The city will carry out the plan with the help of historical memory associations, as well as the historical memory department of Madrid's Complutense University, which have long been campaigning for Spain to stop honouring Franco and his regime.

"I will change the names of the streets and squares in Madrid to comply with the law," tweeted Ahora Madrid. 

The move complies with Spain’s Historical Memory Law, which was passed in 2007 and included an official condemnation of the Franco regime as well as the removal of Francoist symbols from public buildings and spaces.

Despite the law being passed eight years ago, Madrid’s conservative city council had still not removed all the Francoist symbols from the city before May’s local elections, which saw the Popular Party lose their 24-year rule of the city in favour of Podemos-backed left-wing mayor, Manuela Carmena.

"Within four months we will have proposed the necessary modifications to rename the streets and squares in Madrid," confirmed Madrid’s councillor for culture and sports, Celia Mayer.

Some of the affected streets will include: Calle General Yagüe, Avenida General Fanjul and Pasaje General Mola, named after some of Franco’s generals. 

"Can you imagine a street named after the Commander of the Luftwaffe Hermann Goering?" tweeted Ahora Madrid, explaining that it was changing the street named after José María Fernández Ladreda, who took part in Franco's military coup. 

Authorities have not yet confirmed what the new names of the streets and squares will be, or how they will be decided but discussing the plans in July, Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena suggested Madrid do more to honour illustrious of women and that it should be put to public consultation.

Earlier this year Madrid chose to change the name of a Chueca square from Juan Vázquez de Mella, after a 19th century politician involved in the Carlist movement to Plaza Pedro Zerolo, to honour the gay rights activist who died in June.

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