Barcelona (ACN).- María de los Llanos de Luna, from the Peopleu2019s Party (PP), gave a diploma of honour to a brotherhood of soldiers and supporters of the u2018Divisón Azulu2019, a division of Spanish volunteers who fought in the Nazi army on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. De Luna is the top representative of the Spanish Government in Catalonia and she is known for her Spanish nationalism and anti-Catalan identity stance. The u2018Blaue Divisionu2019, the 250. Infanterie-Division of Nazi Germanyu2019s Wehrmacht, represents the main collaboration between Francou2019s dictatorship and Adolph Hitler, as well as the Condor Division u2013 which bombed Gernika u2013 and the arrest of Cataloniau2019s President Lluís Companys by the Gestapo. The 12 members of the brotherhood who attended the diploma ceremony were wearing the Falange uniform, which was the only party allowed during Francou2019s Fascist dictatorship, created before the Spanish Civil War. This Fascist party is still legal in Spain. The news has outraged the rest of the Catalan political parties, who asked for De Lunau2019s immediate resignation on Thursday. Neither the PP nor the Spanish Government have commented on the news or the resignation demands yet. Furthermore, in the last few months, but significantly in the last few weeks, several members of the PP u2013 including the partyu2019s Secretary General u2013 have compared citizen protests against house evictions and Catalan nationalist claims to the Nazi regime. The PP was founded by Manuel Fraga, who had occupied several key ministerial positions in Franco governments, such as Minister for Home Affairs, in charge of the police corps in a military Fascist dictatorship. The ceremony where the diploma was presented took place last Saturday but the controversy popped up on Thursday, when it was reported by the digital magazine La Directa and journalist Bertran Cazorla.
A ceremony within the Guardia Civil barracks
The ceremony was commemorating the 169th anniversary of the Guardia Civil (the Spanish Gendarmerie) and took place in one of its barracks in Greater Barcelona (in Sant Andreu de la Barca). The anniversary of the creation of the Guardia Civil, which has historically been a corps linked to Spanish centralist power and the imposition of order u2013 sometimes brutally u2013 had not been celebrated in Catalonia for many years. However, De Luna decided to commemorate this anniversary again in 2013, half a year after 1.5 million citizens peacefully and democratically demonstrated in Barcelonau2019s streets asking for Cataloniau2019s independence from Spain.
The Guardia Civil stated that the u2018Hermandad de Combatientes de la División Azulu2019 (The Brotherhood of Fighters from the Blue Division) is a legal association and that they were honoured for u201Chistorical and culturalu201D reasons and not ideological ones. The Guardia Civil also stated that during the ceremony, pilots from the Spanish Republican Army were also honoured. They added that it was u201Crandomu201D that De Luna gave a diploma to the Fascist brotherhood and emphasised she also gave other diplomas to other associations.
Catalan parties ask for De Lunau2019s resignation
The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) u2013 which runs the Catalan Government u2013 demanded the u201Cimmediate removalu201D of De Luna u201Cfor a matter of respect and consideration towards the victims of the Holocaust and the Nazi barbarityu201D. u201CIt is the drop that fills up the glass of her lamentable worku201D, stated Jordi Turull, CiUu2019s Spokesperson. Turull also asked for totally stopping the comparisons of democratic claims to the Nazis made by several PP leaders. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party denounced the fact that the Spanish Government has given a u20AC3,500 subsidy to this Fascist brotherhood this year. Alfred Bosch, ERCu2019s Spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, asked for a law banning the celebration of any event recognising people linked to the Nazi regime. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) asked for De Lunau2019s u201Cimmediate resignationu201D or, if she refuses, her immediate removal by the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is also the leader of the Peopleu2019s Party (PP). u201CIt is a great attacku201D against the democratic memory and u201Cthe dignity of the victims of the Nazi and Fascist barbarityu201D, added the PSC. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) asked Mariano Rajoy to u201Cimmediatelyu201D fire María de los Llanos De Luna. They also emphasised that the PPu2019s Secretary General and De Luna herself had compared house eviction protests to the Nazi regime. The anti-Catalan nationalism and populist party Ciutadans (Cu2019s) asked De Luna for an u201Cexplanationu201D for a u201Ctotally unfortunateu201D event. This brotherhood u201Cshould have never participated in such an event honouring the Guardia Civilu201D stated Cu2019s. Finally the radical left-wing and independence party CUP stated that De Lunau2019s participation is u201Can insultu201D to the victims of the Nazi and Franco dictatorships.