Hundreds in Spain mark Franco's death

23rd November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Far-right supporters from across Europe gathered in Madrid to make the death of the Generalissimo.

Madrid – Hundreds of far-right supporters from across Europe, many making stiff-armed salutes, gathered Sunday in Madrid to mark the 34th anniversary of the death of Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco.

Many in the crowd waved red-and-yellow Spanish flags with the insignia of the Franco regime's Falange party at the annual rally in Plaza de Oriente, the square where the dictator used to regularly address supporters at rallies during his nearly four decades in power.

Franco, also know as the Generalissimo, ruled Spain with an authoritarian hand between 1939 and his death on 20 November 1975, at the age of 82.

Since his death, dwindling numbers of nostalgic supporters commemorate his passing on the Sunday closest to 20 November.

On Friday, the anniversary of Franco's death, a memorial mass was held at his mausoleum near Madrid.

The service held at the Valley of the Fallen also marked the anniversary of the execution in 1936 of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder in 1933 of the Falange, the party that provided the ideological basis for the Franco's regime, who is also buried in the mausoleum.

Both events are largely ignored by Spain's mainstream political parties and are given little coverage by the national media.

Supporters credit Franco with providing Spain with political stability which they say gave the country a rising standard of living and industrial growth.

But his critics stress his suppression of fundamental democratic rights. Under Franco political parties and non-government trade unions were banned, press freedoms curtailed and separatists and communists repressed.

His regime, exceedingly harsh at the outset, was moderated somewhat from the middle of the 1950s until his death in the mid 1970s.

AFP / Expatica

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