Petition campaign to save Madrid memorial
An online petition campaign has been launched by the AABI International Brigades friendship group in Spain to save the memorial to the International Brigades in Madrid's University City.
Madrid’s Complutense University has been ordered to remove the memorial that was unveiled on 22 October 2011 in the presence of four International Brigade veterans, including David Lomon from Britain.
The order was made on 3 June 2013 by a Madrid court, the Tribunal Superior de Justicia, on the grounds that the monument had been erected by the university without planning permission. The university is reported to be insisting that it applied for the permission but did not receive a reply from the city council.
The IBMT donated 500 euros towards the cost of the memorial. Several other International Brigade associations also contributed to the financial appeal launched by the AABI, as did the Madrid embassies of Argentina, Canada, Cyprus, Norway, Russia, Serbia and Slovenia.
The court’s decision was greeted with dismay by the AABI activists, who noted that, although the ruling was made on technical grounds, the original complaint was lodged by a lawyer with known far-right connections. They also point out that Franco's Arco de la Victoria (Victory Arch) still stands at the entrance to the University City.
In a letter to the Spanish ambassador in London, Frederico Trillo, IBMT Secretary Jim Jump said the decision would be interpreted by many people as evidence that there were institutions in Spain that had still not come to terms with the country’s recent history.
“For a Spanish court to be seen to be acting in a way that denigrates the memory of those who fought in Spain against European fascism and on the side of a democratic government is highly damaging to the image of Spain in the outside world,” he added.
The petition form, which is is hosted by @change.org, is in Spanish but this can be changed by scrolling down to the foot of the page and choosing a different language.