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Bid to rename Francoist streets in Lleida dismissed

Local groups takes city council to court for failing to comply with Historical Memory law

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11 April 2018 12:39 PM

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ACN | Lleida

A court in Lleida, in the west of Catalonia, has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the city council by a local platform seeking to rename the streets called after Francoist figures.

According to the ‘Lleida Free of Francoism’ platform, the town does not comply with the historical memory law, a bill passed in 2007 by the Socialist government in Spain, which ordered the removal from public places of monuments and symbols linked to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

In total, the platform says there are eight streets named after people linked to the Franco regime in Lleida, including several mayors and local landowners who gained prominence during the 40-year long dictatorship.

The current mayor of Lleida, the Socialist Àngel Ros, said that some “were good people, of Francoist ideology, but who worked for the city.”

In a letter to a Catalan newspaper, the heir of the Recasens brothers called on the city council to rename the street dedicated to his forebears. “They were not Francoists because of their ideology, on the contrary, it was due to opportunism,” said the letter.

According to the Memorial Democràtic (Democratic Memorial), a public institution focused on recovering Catalan history, there are more than 300 Francoist symbols in Lleida.

Last January, the pro-independence PDeCAT party urged the city council to contact all citizens who own houses with symbols included in the abovementioned list and allocate funds for their removal.

Four decades have passed since the end of the Franco dictatorship, but the prevalence of its legacy remains a hot issue in Catalonia and all across Spain.

Madrid court keeps Blue Division street

On Monday, a court in Madrid overruled the city council in changing the name of “The Fallen of the Blue Division” street, called after the unit of Spanish volunteers who served in the Nazi German army during the Second World War.

The judge argued that the Blue Division was formed in 1941, two years after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) ended, and therefore it is included neither in the period affected by the law nor within Spanish territory.

“[The Blue Division] did not carry out actions glorifying either the military rebellion, or the Civil War, or the participation in the repression during the war, or even less so were instrumental or backed the dictatorial system imposed by Franco.”

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  • A street sign in Lleida dedicated to the Francoist housing ministry (by ACN)

  • A street sign in Lleida dedicated to the Francoist housing ministry (by ACN)