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OFFBEAT

Puppeteers held for ‘glorifying terrorism’ in Madrid show

Two puppeteers were detained in Madrid on Saturday after staging a children’s show during which they allegedly praised terrorism, judicial sources told AFP.

Puppeteers held for 'glorifying terrorism' in Madrid show
A file photo of puppets. Photo: Leon Neal/AFP

The controversy centres around a performance on Friday, when the artists displayed a sign that read “Gora Alka-ETA”, a play on words that combines the “Gora ETA (Long Live ETA)” chant of the banned Basque separatist group with the made-up word alka, to create a slogan that sounds like “Long Live Al-qaeda”.

Judicial sources said other scenes from the puppet show also shocked the audience, including one featuring the hanging of a judge and another showing the rape of a nun.

The puppeteers were on Saturday charged with “glorifying terrorism” by a judge from the National Audience, which handles terror-related cases, a judicial source told AFP.

Madrid’s new leftist mayor Manuela Carmena in a statement called the puppeteers’ actions “offensive, completely misplaced” and announced that the play — part of Madrid’s carnival celebrations — had been suspended.

A support group for the victims of terrorism (AVT) on Twitter said it intended to file a complaint over the show and called for deputy culture minister Celia Mayer to be sacked.

The ETA group has claimed responsibility for the deaths of over 800 people over 40 years, but renounced violence in its struggle for independence four years ago.

The puppet company behind Friday’s performance, known as “Titeres desde abajo” (Puppets from below), advertises itself as specialising in “popular theatre” and children’s entertainment.

The troupe, based in the southern city of Granada, has in the past performed at events organised by anarchist groups, according to its website.

OFFBEAT

Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.

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