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, JosÃƒ© 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 ibÃƒ©rico, received seems to have been a Ã¢€œgay-bashingÃ¢€, provoked by the government’s promotion of gay rights. Ã¢€œHate-filled womenÃ¢€ in fur coats punched him; others called him an Ã¢€œassassinÃ¢€ and a Ã¢€œdefender of pooftersÃ¢€. 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 ManjÃƒ³n, who did not attend the rally, said, Ã¢€œit seemed like those people were the same ones who told me that they would Ã¢€˜stick my dead up my arseÃ¢€™.Ã¢€ 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.