MADRID (AP) — Pomp, pageantry and a grand navy parade marked Spain’s nationwide day ceremonies in Madrid on Tuesday, overshadowing protests in opposition to what some see as a misguided celebration of Spanish colonial historical past.
Cavalry members escorted King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia to a platform the place the royal couple watched greater than 2,600 troops march alongside the flag-lined Paseo de la Castellana. The parade featured dozens of plane flying overhead and a 21-gun salute.
A parachutist with a large red-and-yellow Spanish flag connected to his ankle landed on the avenue, drawing cheers from the 1000’s of spectators.
The Día de la Fiesta Nacional, also referred to as Dia de la Hispanidad, is a public vacation in Spain. The 1987 legislation which made Oct. 12 the nationwide vacation stated it commemorates “the linguistic and cultural projection of Spain exterior of its European limits.”
The date marks explorer Christopher Columbus’ Oct. 12, 1492 sighting of land whereas touring beneath Spanish royal sponsorship seeking what got here to be often known as the Americas. That occasion heralded centuries of colonization of the Americas by European nations whereas bringing violence, illness and demise to indigenous individuals.
In Spain, the struggling of native populations throughout that interval has not obtained the identical consideration or prompted the sort of historic reevaluation because it has, for instance, in the USA, the place in lots of locations Columbus Day has been paired or changed with Indigenous Peoples Day to modify the main focus of the annual vacation.
Close to to the place Tuesday’s official nationwide day celebrations had been held in Madrid is a statue of Columbus atop a pedestal. It’s 17 meters (56 toes) excessive.
Within the U.S. metropolis of Chicago, against this, three statues of Columbus stay in storage by order of the native authorities after protesters focused them final summer time.
The talk over Columbus’ historic legacy has raged for a few years. However it got here into sharper focus in the USA after a marketing campaign to take away monuments devoted to Accomplice generals flared into lethal violence in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Protests staged to coincide with Spain’s nationwide day largely had been pushed by different grievances.
The king, as an example, obtained jeers and whistles from individuals who need to abolish the Spanish monarchy, for instance. Regional officers combating for the independence of Spain’s Catalonia area went to work as regular as a approach of thumbing their noses on the nation’s central authorities.
Even the anti-establishment, left-wing Unidas Podemos (United We Can) celebration supported the formal ceremonies in Madrid despite the fact that combating inequality is one among its banner points. The left-wing celebration, which is a part of Spain’s coalition authorities, despatched its three authorities ministers to attend the parade.
Teams protesting in opposition to the tribute to Columbus and his legacy organized scattered demonstrations for later within the day, together with in Madrid.
Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez sought to focus the celebrations on a extra fashionable appreciation of Oct. 12.
He stated the vacation was meant to rejoice “what bonds us collectively, what makes us greater as a society, what makes Spain a pleasant, open, various nation.”
Paula Guerra, a Chilean anti-racism activist, stated the celebrations ought to get replaced by “an acknowledgment of the injury brought on by the horrors” dedicated by Spain within the Americas.
“It was a regime of terror. It was a regime of barbarism,” she stated.
Dora Turín, 35, who works in Spain’s audiovisual sector, stated prematurely of the parade that individuals ought to mirror positively on Spain’s colonial rule.
“It was a contribution of cultures, along with ours,” she stated. “It meant including extra data and having the ability to combine inter-culturally and attain what we at the moment are.”
Hatton reported from Lisbon, Portugal.
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