Soldiers 'denied Spain's national anthem'
5 August 2005, MADRID – The conservatives are demanding Spain's defence minister explains to Parliament why soldiers leaving for Afghanistan were not played the country's national anthem.
5 August 2005
MADRID – The conservatives are demanding Spain's defence minister explains to Parliament why soldiers leaving for Afghanistan were not played the country's national anthem.
PP spokesman Manuel Atencia called on José Bono to appear before Congress "voluntarily and urgently" to tell MPs why 200 soldiers leaving for Kabul on Thursday were played the Galician and Asturias anthems, but not the national anthem.
Atencia said the incident seemed "extremely unusual and serious" and said the snub had never before been witnessed in Spain's history.
He added that he feared the act was "one more gesture" to pacify the Galician National Block, which governs in coalition with the socialists in Galicia.
"This wasn't an isolated act. All this is linked and the members of the government are preparing us bit by bit for the breaking up of Spain," he said.
Army sources, however, insisted that the national anthem is only played at official institutional ceremonies. He said Thursday's farewell at the military airport in Santiago de Compostela was an informal ceremony organised by the Light Airtransport Brigade BRILAT.
"A mix of military marches was played, among those strains of the Asturias and Galician anthems were included, as a tribute to the places from where the soldiers come," said a spokesman.
The soldiers arrived in Kabul on Friday and were due to head to Herat in the west of the country.
They bring the total number of Spanish troops in Afghanistan to 850. They are in the country to keep the peace in the run-up to elections on 18 September.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news