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Two Conflicting Marches
Two marches on the same day, one in the north the other in the south of Spain, symbolized the political struggle in Europe. The way of Saint James across northern Spain leads to Santiago de Compostela, the famous shrine symbolizing the Christian crusade against the Moors. The legend claims that the body of St. James miraculously floated to the shore near Santiago, where it is now venerated. Legend also has it that St.James appeared in the sky on a white horse at the Battle of Calataņazor, leading the Christians to victory. We must disregard the fact that the battle never took place.
The Guardia Civil, respected by the right and detested by the left, celebrated its day by staging a ride, in their traditional attire and on white horses, along the way, accompanied by detachments from similar police bodies in other European countries. At Santiago, they partipated in a special mass.
In the south, the Communist group Izquierda Unida used the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade to stage a march to the U.S. base at Rota, a short distance from Cadiz. Leftists from Portugal and other countries took part. The Rota base was granted by Spain to the U.S. in a deal which ensured he survival of the Franco regime. The speeches outside the base were not accompanied by violence.
Such marches are not anti-social as are those which disrupt life in a big city. They are a variant on people voting with their feet.
Ronald Hilton - 05/10/99