Francoists denied access to dictator’s tomb

November 21, 2010

Francoists sing their anthem "Cara al sol" at the entrance to the Valley of the Fallen. Photo Mónica Patxot

Franco died on November 20th, 1975, and for almost thirty-five years following his death, his followers and sympathizers–including Falangists and other neofascists–gathered at his tomb in the Valley of the Fallen to pay him tribute. This year the Spanish government ordered their access to the tomb blocked, Público reports, officially for security reasons (some of the statues are reported to be in danger of collapsing; the Law of Historical Memory, adopted in 2007, also bars the use of monuments for political purposes). Instead, the Francoists gathered at the Valley’s entrance to sing their hymns. The government could not prevent the celebration of a mass to commemorate the dictator by the monks who live in the monument, which is also a monastery. Meanwhile, a coalition of victims’ organization held a protest requesting that the monument–and in particular its 500-feet concrete cross that towers over the landcape–be demolished.