The remains of the fascist José Antonio Primo de Rivera have been excavated in Madrid today. He was buried in a mausoleum in a valley established by the Spanish dictator Franco. His remains have been transferred to a smaller cemetery, with less pomp and circumstance.
The Spanish government has long wanted to deal with memories of the Franco era. Recently, mass graves have been cleared more often and street name signs of soldiers have been replaced. A law was also introduced at the end of last year that clears the name of political prisoners from that time.
Primo de Rivera was buried in the Valley of the Fallen, which is no longer called that. Franco had it built by Republican anti-fascist prisoners. There are 34,000 victims of the war buried here. Franco was also buried there himself, but his remains were already removed there in 2019.
The Spanish government wants to turn the place into a memorial for victims of the civil war. Last year the valley got its original name back: Cuelgamuros.
Disturbances at new cemetery
Primo de Rivera’s grave has been moved to the San Isidro cemetery in Madrid. The cemetery was closed to the public at the time. According to the Spanish newspaper El País, about 200 sympathizers of Primo de Rivera had come to receive the coffin.
They sang fascist songs and clashed with the police when they wanted to enter the cemetery. Images also show that a number of them gave the fascist salute to the police with their right arm outstretched.
Primo de Rivera was the founder of the fascist Falange movement in 1933. His party was banned by the new, left-wing Spanish government in 1936. Primo de Rivera ended up in jail and was executed at the end of that year.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the party joined Franco’s nationalist party. When he took power in 1939, the Falange Party became the only permitted political party in Spain.
Franco remained in power until his death in 1975 and led a dictatorial regime over Spain.
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