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Sunday, 19 November, 2000, 17:08 GMT
Madrid arrests at Franco rallies
Franco supporter
Thousands nostalgic for Franco gathered in Central Madrid
Four anti-fascist demonstrators were arrested in Madrid as two conflicting rallies were held ahead of the 25th anniversary of former dictator General Francisco Franco's death.

Bottles were thrown at police by the anti-fascist demonstrators protesting at a rally in the capital commemorating General Franco.

Anti-fascist
Anti-Fascists demonstrators were rounded up by police
Trouble broke out when police tried to keep the two crowds apart and the police responded by firing blank in the air.

Police wielding truncheons and shields had earlier closed off streets in central Madrid and ordered an end to the anti-Franco march just as a demonstrators gathered in a plaza.

Some 3,000 young skinheads and older Franco fans waved flags and chanted in support of the dictator.

Indifference

On Saturday, several hundred including Franco's daughter Carmen and a group of former dignitaries attended a memorial mass at Franco's burial site in la Cruz de los Caidos basilica, an enormous hillside mausoleum west of Madrid.

fascists in madrid
Fascists continued with their rally as police dealt with demonstrators
Otherwise the anniversary is being largely overlooked. Some 16m Spaniards - 40% of the population - were younger than 10 or not even born when Franco died.

Most media focused on the 25-year rule of Juan Carlos, who was proclaimed King two days after Franco succumbed to a long illness in a hospital in Madrid.

"Nobody can lay an exclusive claim on the success of Spain's transformation (to democracy), because it belongs to the Spanish people, who have decided to take the road of freedom," the conservative newspaper ABC said in an editorial.

"The success of Don Juan Carlos consisted of handing their destiny back to the Spanish people," it said.

"Franco proclaimed himself to be elected by the grace of God, but only 25 years after his death he is but a foggy memory in the annals of history," the Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia said.

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18 Nov 00 | Europe
A far cry from Franco
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