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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 11:40 GMT
Madrid removes last Franco statue
Franco statue
The Franco statue has been daubed with paint in the past by protesters
The Madrid authorities have removed the city's last statue of former military ruler General Francisco Franco.

Before dawn, to jeers and cheers from fascist and anti-fascist supporters, a crane lifted the statue of the general mounted on a horse from its plinth.

There had been no notice that the 1959 statue would be removed.

The Spanish public works ministry told national radio it was removed to enable building work in the area and because "most Madrid citizens didn't like it".

Some of the Franco supporters watching the removal in San Juan de la Cruz Square sang the Spanish fascist anthem Cara al Sol [Face to the Sun] - to insults from other bystanders.


Gaspar Llamazares, of the Izquierda Unida [United Left] party, welcomed the removal of the statue, which he described as an "anachronism".

Franco supporters
Franco supporters sang the fascist anthem as the statue was removed

Franco died in 1975, having ruled Spain since 1939. He came to power after leading a nationalist revolt against the Republican government.

Since his death and Spain's return to democracy, some other Franco statues and memorials have been removed from public places.

But in 2002, the conservative government - which was replaced by the Socialists last year - voted against proposals to remove street names, statues and other symbols of the Franco era.

The Madrid statue, which has been a rallying point for pro-Franco supporters and daubed with red paint during anti-Franco demonstrations, was taken to a warehouse.

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