Friday, March 09, 2007

A Weekend To Remember

The Partido Popular (PP) is pulling out all the stops to get maximum participation in tomorrow's protest in Madrid against the government, allegedly called because of the decision to move the ETA prisoner Iñaki de Juana Chaos to the Basque country. Party supporters will be bussed in from all around the country, I have no doubt that the PP controlled regional government of Madrid is already estimating the attendance at 3 million or above; given their traditional tendency to multiply the real attendance by 10 when they support the protest. South of Watford's roving reporter will almost certainly be there to bring a first-hand report, I really should find something better to do with my Saturday afternoons!

Tomorrow will be the high tide of the so called "civic rebellion" against the government, and the PP knows it. They are playing a very cynical hand, attempting to pretend that there is no party political motive behind the protest. In the process, they have even adopted symbols of organisations that have no political alignment on the issue, trying to make them their own. Madrid regional president, Esperanza Aguirre, called the decision to move De Juana Chaos "the saddest day for democracy since the 23rd February (a reference to the attempted coup in 1981)". In fact there have been much sadder days since 1981. One particular day which you might imagine would be present in the mind of someone who governs Madrid could be the day of the train bombings in 2004; after all it led to the death of 192 people and almost 2000 wounded. Yet Esperanza finds no room for this day on her list of shame.

I doubt it has escaped the notice of the PP leadership that they are mobilising their supporters the day before the 3rd anniversary of the train bombings, and that their protest will inevitably overshadow the memory of those attacks. If I were as cynical as they certainly are, I might even suggest that is what they want to do.

No comments: