28th October 2020
Madrid protest of Franco
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Franco’s remains to be exhumed on Thursday

The exhumation of the remains of Franco will take place on Thursday 24 October at 10.30am, the Spanish government has announced.

Francisco Franco’s remains, which lie in a tomb in the Valley of the Fallen memorial site, will then be reburied alongside those of his wife in a family crypt in Madrid’s El Pardo cemetery.

The operation to move Franco’s remains will be closed to the media, and the authorities say it will be carried out ‘with respect, in the presence of the family’.

ALSO READ: Spotlight: ‘When you attack Franco, you attack over half of Spain’

Removing the remains from the site meant to commemorate people who died on both sides of the Spanish Civil War was a key election pledge of Spain’s acting prime minister, Pedro Sánchez.

Madrid protest of Franco
People attend a demonstration titled “Madrid sin Franco” (Madrid without Franco) in Madrid on 25 October 2018, against a proposal of moving the remains of the late dictator to the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid. (Oscar del Pozo / AFP)

After years of delays and legal wrangles, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court removed the final legal hurdle to the exhumation and opened the way to reburying Franco’s remains.

Judges had also previously rejected a proposal from Franco’s relatives to relocate the remains to the Almudena Cathedral, where many feared Franco’s supporters would find a new site of pilgrimage in downtown Madrid.

ALSO READ: Spanish artist defaces Franco tomb

‘The government has argued from the start of the process that the dictator’s remains could not stay in a public mausoleum that exalts him, something expressly forbidden by the historical memory law,’ said the Spanish executive in a statement.

Some 34,000 people are buried in the Valley of the Fallen memorial site. However, as Franco is also buried there, the site is often associated with his repressive regime.

ALSO READ: Sánchez: Franco mausoleum cannot be ‘place of reconciliation’

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