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Francoist values ‘still present,’ warns Speaker

Roger Torrent gave a speech opening the annual event to pay homage to victims of the dictatorship, held at the Catalan Parliament

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13 April 2018 05:17 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Each year, the Catalan Parliament hosts an event to pay homage to the Republicans who were victims of the Francoist dictatorship, ending some 40 years ago. In his speech to open the event, the Speaker of the Parliament Roger Torrent, however, noted that some elements persist even today. “Some Francoist and fascist values are still present,” he proclaimed, at the lectern. “They never completely disappeared.”

In his opening speech, which followed a musical piece, he referred to “attacks with Nazi symbols” throughout Catalonia, relating them to the attitude of the Spanish government towards the pro-independence movement and the Catalan Parliament itself. He deemed the current climate as one that gives “impunity” to attacks by “fascist” groups in Catalonia.

Speaker denounces ‘impunity’ for ‘fascist’ groups

“Hate, violence, and repression against those who think differently. They never completely disappeared, and in the past months they’ve become plainly visible.” Inasmuch, he compared the “impunity” that the groups perpetrating these attacks benefit from, with “the intent to criminalize civil and peaceful protests” seen by the Spanish government, he said.  

“We’re experiencing a clear situation of regression,” Torrent proclaimed, “We must decry that the Spanish government continues obstructing all intents to revisit the past.” The speaker referred to the ongoing effort in Catalonia to recover historical memory of the atrocities committed during the Spanish Civil War. This included the exhumation of mass graves for those fallen during the war and dictatorship.

Torrent additionally detailed the values of freedom and defense of rights that the Republicans fought for, before and during the dictatorship. He vowed “not to fail” in “defending fundamental rights.” “We will not stand for our rights and freedoms being trampled on,” he concluded.

'They forgot the memory of the victims,' says Fortuny

Other speakers at the event included the president of the 'Association for the Memory of those Fallen for Catalonia's Freedom,' Pere Fortuny. Fortuny called for the cancellation of sentencings dating from the Francoist dictatorship, and additionally denounced there currently being "a democracy still dominated by the heirs to Francoism." 

He further decried that "they made it so that those who were in charge" did not face up "to the crimes they committed." Fortuny mentioned the Spanish 1977 Amnesty Law, originally set to free political prisoners and permit those in exile to return to Spain, but which also guaranteed impunity to those responsible for crimes during the Civil War and dictatorship.

"They approved Amnesty in '77. But they forgot to restore the memory of the victims," Fortuny said. Before both their speeches, Torrent and Fortuny carried out a symbolic tribute to the republicans repressed during the Franco years, and observed a minute of silence

Not all parties were present

MPs from pro-independence parties Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), Esquerra Republicana (ERC), and CUP were present during the event, as were representatives from the in-between-blocs platform Catalunya en Comú-Podem. Notoriously absent, though, were members of the three unionist parties in the hemicycle: Ciutadans (C’s), the Socialists (PSC), and Spain’s ruling People’s Party (PP). 

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  • Parliament speaker Roger Torrent speaks at the annual event to pay homage to victims of the Francoist dictatorship on April 13 2018 (by Laura Batlle)

  • Parliament speaker Roger Torrent speaks at the annual event to pay homage to victims of the Francoist dictatorship on April 13 2018 (by Laura Batlle)