People chanting 'France, France' gave fascist salutes to right-wing leaders after a memorial service in Madrid on Thursday (19 February).
People chanting 'France, France' gave fascist salutes to right-wing leaders after a memorial service in Madrid on Thursday (19 February). The requiem mass was for two policemen and a paramilitary guard, gunned down by terrorists outside a Madrid post office ten days before.
SYNOPSIS: The deaths of the three policemen has sparked off an angry reaction from the country's right-wingers. A left-wing organisation calling itself the First of October group of anti-Fascist Resistance - or GRAPO - has claimed responsibility for the killings. Blas Pinar, the leader of the Fuerza Nueva, or New Force, and extreme right-wing group, was cheered by crowds waiting outside as he arrived for the service. "France, France", they chanted.
At the burial service for the dead policemen the previous week a call by right-wing groups to heed a government ban on demonstrations, didn't stop a few hundred rightist demonstrators gathering opposite the church to shout insults at the King and government. The service comes during a tense pause in the country's political violence, which has claimed the lives of 10 people, including the three policemen in recent incidents.
Tension also has developed between the Catholic church and the right. The church hierarchy has condemned the use of names like the guerrillas of Christ the King' -- the name of an anti-left terrorist group-as?a cover for terrorist activities. Taking advantage of the pause in the violence, the political parties of the right and centre have started their campaigns for the proposed democratic elections at the end of June.
The country's Communist Party, outlawed since the end of the civil war, could also be in contention for election. It has tested the government's democratic intentions by applying for legal status. Most Spaniards welcome the coming of democracy, but fear the growing resurgence of the right and left-wing assassination squads like those which existed before the civil war.