A major Francoist symbol in Elche is to be removed and replaced by an open-air museum of memory to victims of the Spanish Civil War.

The Cross of the Fallen was constructed in 1944 in a square adjoining the city’s Paseo de Germanias.

Elche council announced its intention to get rid of the monument last year.

Details have now been firmed up by the authority as part of a €1 million regeneration project in the Paseo de Germanias area.

Elche’s Urban Planning councillor, Ana Arabid, said: “The cross has no place in the renovation of the area and it is all about complying with the Law of Historical Memory.”

Ana Arabid Elche
ANA ARABID(Elche Ayuntamiento image)

The decision taken by the left-wing PSOE-Compromis coalition that runs the council has been criticised by the conservative Partido Popular(PP) and the far-right Vox party.

A PP spokesman described the move as ‘sectarianism’ from the ‘left’ and argued that the cross ‘is not only a religious symbol, but it represents the values of Western civilisation based on respect for the dignity of the person and freedom.”

A demonstration last June by a group calling themselves ‘Defend the Cross’ said the monument ‘represents forgiveness and reconciliation during one of the toughest stages’ in Spain’s history.

Councillor Arabid confirmed that the ‘cross-less’ square would become an exhibition area.

A near-by Civil War bunker will be converted into a museum, with both areas having themes linked to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Elche council is already working with Amnesty International to programme educational activities.

The Cross of the Fallen will not be destroyed but just dismantled and removed during the 10 month renovation work.

It’s not known where the council plans to store it.

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