Judge in Alicante orders Franco-era signage restored

Alicante city workers replace the new 'Plaza of Equalty' sign with the old División Azul sign. Photo: Público
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• Alicante council’s decision to remove 46 Franco-era signs overturned by court
• City vows to appeal lower court decision to Valencia regional Supreme Court

The muncipal government of Alicante has complied with a judicial order to reverse its decision taken last December to replace the Franco-era names of 46 streets and plaza’s throughout the city in keeping with Spain’s 2007 Law of Historical Memory, but says it will appeal the lower court decision to the Valencia region’s Supreme Court.

The city council, governed by coalition of the Socialist party (PSOE), Compromís and the local Guanyar party, proceeded to remove the new street signs on Friday, and has put back the old Franco-era signs, including one glorifying the Division Azul (“Blue Division”) of Franquista volunteers who fought alongside German forces on the Russian front during World War II.

Spain’s 2007 Historical Memory law requires removal of all public signage and monuments commemorating heroes or victories of the Franco forces in the 1936-39 Civil War that toppled the country’s democratically elected Republican government, or that glorify the leadership or other aspects of the 36-year Franco dictatorship that followed.

After the Alicante council voted to remove the old street signage in December, the local leadership of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) in Alicante filed a judicial complaint, alleging that the city council did not observe the proper procedures for public hearings and debate required by the 2007 Historical Memory law prior to actually removing the street signs. Socialist mayor Gabriel Echávarri said the city will comply with the lower court order until the matter is resolved by the Valencian high court.

► Read More in Spanish at El País and Público …

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