As if the scene of the officers linking up with nuns, priests and people in wheelchairs wasn’t bizarre enough, its source may come as a surprise.
It was leaked by disgruntled officers within the force to highlight wasted funds and lack of resources within the force.
The footage from the 59th International military pilgrimage to the shrine in southern France was posted by the Unified Association of the Civil Guard (AUGC) with the complaint that it was paid for using public funds.
El vídeo del baile en la peregrinación oficial a Lourdes pagada con dinero público. Y mientras agentes sin chalecos antibalas. pic.twitter.com/Qr6rGhs60v
— AUGC Guardia Civil (@AUGC_Comunica) June 1, 2017
“The video of dancing during the official pilgrimage to Lourdes paid for with public money. Meanwhile officers go without bulletproof vests,” read the tweet, posted with a clip from the video.
The AUGC expanded in a statement that the pilgrimage cost the force €10,851, an expenditure it described as “beyond the role of the Guardia Civil” and that constituted “an improper activity by a police force operating in a democratic and non-demoninational state”.
The Civil Guard is a military force that in its 170-year history has traditionally been led by a general although since the 1986 that is no longer the case.
The force was once considered as being made up of henchmen and enforcers during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. It survived the transition and today works alongside Spain’s local and national police forces patrolling highways and borders and investigating crimes.