When Conservatives Hit the Streets…

…It can be an awfully ugly sight, as Spanish Socialists can attest:

Attacked from the Right (Economist)

SPAIN’S defence minister, José Bono, likes to wrap himself in the national flag. He is less used to being struck by one, as he was at a protest last weekend staged by the Association of Victims of Terrorism in Madrid. The 35,000-strong rally was called to commemorate all victims of terrorism, including those killed in the March 11th Madrid train bombings. But the protesters’ bigger target was the Basque terrorist group, ETA. And the attack on Mr Bono was the work of right-wing thugs.

What Mr Bono, a devout Catholic and patriot who prides himself on being a macho ibérico, received seems to have been a “gay-bashing”, provoked by the government’s promotion of gay rights. “Hate-filled women” in fur coats punched him; others called him an “assassin” and a “defender of poofters”. He and another Socialist politician fled, after a man wielding an iron bar joined the attack. The police questioned two members of an opposition People’s Party (PP) committee, one of whom was photographed clasping a broken flagpole.

That the macho Mr Bono, of all Socialists, should be attacked shows both how few brains the mob had and how edgy some on the right now are. As a spokeswoman for the March 11th Victims Association, Pilar Manjón, who did not attend the rally, said, “it seemed like those people were the same ones who told me that they would ‘stick my dead up my arse’.” Another target of verbal abuse was Gregorio Peces-Barba, a Socialist recently appointed as ombudsman of all victims’ groups. He called on both main parties to stop making political capital out of victims.

Simply put, this episode is disgraceful. There’s no excuse for such violence, however misguided government policy may be.

FILED UNDER: Europe
Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.