Friday, February 02, 2007

Threatening Behaviour

Tomorrow we have a demonstration in Madrid...again. The angry right are taking to the streets once more on the pretext of demonstrating against terrorism, but with the principal objective of protesting against their main enemy, the government. If it doesn't seem like a long time since they last did this, that is because it was only a few weeks ago. Since that last demonstration we have of course had the ETA bombing at Madrid airport that killed two Ecuadorian immigrants. Tomorrow's march is a response by the Partido Popular (PP) and their satellite organisations to the broad based demonstration held last month which the PP and their allies boycotted in a disgraceful, but hardly surprising, display of political sectarianism.

Not only did tomorrow's protestors not turn up for the January demonstration, they actively attempted to sabotage it. One prominent example of this came from the demagogic Taliban of the hard right in Spain, Federico Jiménez Losantos. Federico, who presents a radio show on the COPE station (owned by the Catholic Church), was naturally in favour of boycotting the demonstration. However, he took things a bit further in his attempts to destroy any possible show of unity in response to ETA’s attack. Given that the promotors of the march included associations representing Ecuadorian immigrants in Spain, he issued a clear warning to those immigrants who decided to turn out and show their solidarity with the victims. He reminded them that the majority of Ecuadorians in Spain live in regions controlled by the PP (such as Madrid, Valencia, or Murcia), and that they should bear this in mind before becoming involved in actions not approved of by that party. He didn't actually say

“That’s a nice work permit you’ve got there, it would be a shame to see anything happen to it; we certainly wouldn’t like to see it CUT INTO A THOUSAND PIECES would we?”

but nor was he very far away from saying it.

Now that we are set to get the counter-demonstration, Federico has returned to the attack. Today he set upon one of the main associations representing Ecuadorian immigrants, because they have rejected participation in tomorrow's event (due to its open pro-PP bias). Here the PP and their friends have a problem, they are using the tragic death of the two immigrants as a backdrop for their anti-government protest, but they are not getting the support of an immigrant community who did turn out in significant numbers on the previous demonstration. To try and get round this problem an organisation has surfaced calling itself the Federación de Ecuatorianos en Madrid, which is one of the sponsors of tomorrow's event. This association had never been heard of before last month, and it's president (who has links to the PP) turns out to be no more Ecuadorian than I am.

Another point of interest for tomorrow will be whether the PP mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón decides to turn up; he was much criticised for not going to the January protest and his attempts to distance himself from the hard right of his party have suffered as a result. If he goes tomorrow then he leaves even less doubt about his own position, perhaps he will catch a politically convenient virus. South of Watford has not yet decided whether its own crack team of battle hardened investigative reporters will be there to give their impressions, but I can take advantage of this opportunity to introduce the hard working team of El Manifestómetro, who almost certainly will report from the front line.

1 comment:

Tom said...

That link is great... I love how the PP-run regional government came up with an attendance figure 10 times that of the actual organisers!!