Campaign urges participation in referendum for democratic break with Franco’s Spain
Provocative street poster initiative aims to remind public of “origin of Spanish institutions” on 81st anniversary of fascist dictator’s coup
Several large cities in Catalonia woke up this morning to find their streets filled with posters showing dictator Francisco Franco’s face on a black background, with the following phrase in Spanish: “Don’t vote. On October 1 say ‘No’ to the Republic”.
According to the campaign promoters, the initiative’s aim is to provoke debate and remind people of the origins of Spanish institutions on the 81st anniversary of General Franco’s coup. They argue that the best way to break with Francoism and to make the whole of Spain more democratic is by taking part in the October 1 referendum. “At first glance, many people actually thought it was a campaign by a far right organization,” said Badalona town councilor for ‘Guanyem Badalona’, José Téllez, one of the main promoters of the campaign.
“There has never been a democratic break with the institutions installed by Franco's coup"
José Téllez · Badalona town councilor for 'Guanyem Badalona'
Téllez told ACN that the idea behind the initiative is to remind society that Spain is still built on the same structures that were formed during the Franco dictatorship and repression. “There has never been a democratic break with these institutions installed by a coup,” Téllez said. The councilor also said that while he is aware that the campaign is controversial, he was satisfied because it created debate in society around the origin of Spanish Institutions.
In Badalona, one of the biggest cities closest to Barcelona, the posters appeared on Tuesday morning and were ripped down in many places. In some neighborhoods, whole walls were covered with dozens of posters showing Franco’s face, which did not leave passers-by indifferent.
Téllez also pointed out that the choice of the coup’s date on July 18 was significant. “We wanted to remind society that we do have memory,” the city councilor said, adding that Spain’s current structure is the legacy of Francoism, thereby highlighting the need for the independence referendum as a mechanism for a democratic break with this past.
The campaign was carried out in many large cities, among them Badalona, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Ripollet, Cerdanyola and Girona, and received broad support from the public as well as many people who are members of left-leaning groups all over Catalonia in favor of independence or the referendum.