Expatica news

Victims’ leader claims politicians exploiting tragedy

3 March 2005

MADRID – The woman who has become the public face of the victims of last year’s terrorist bombings in Madrid denounced politicians she accused of exploiting the tragedy for partisan ends.

Pilar Manjon, whose 20-year-old son was one of the 191 people killed in the almost simultaneous attacks on four commuter trains, said the victims should not be considered as “political weapons” or “standard bearers” for any particular party.

Many among the 1,900 people injured in the blasts are still struggling with the physical and psychological consequences.

Manjon shot to prominence in December with her testimony before a parliamentary inquiry into the bombings, which were carried out by Islamic extremists.

Accusing the main political parties of using the “pain of the victims for partisan ends”, she appealed to them to put aside their squabbles and cooperate to get at the truth behind the attacks.

But both main parties rejected her idea of holding a non-political inquiry into the bombings.

King Juan Carlos, however, called her to say that he was proud to be one of her fellow citizens.

Manjon spoke at the announcement of a free concert on the eve of the anniversary of the massacre, which occurred on 11 March.

The concert was to be attended by members of the royal family, the government and the political parties, but Manjon said she also wanted to invite all those who had helped unselfishly during the tragedy and its aftermath, such as firefighters and hospital staff.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news