5 Jul, 2023 @ 10:38
1 min read

Spain’s far-right Vox party and eviction company Desokupa stoke anti-immigrant sentiment with fake news about murder in Madrid

Santiago Abascal, Vox leader. Photo by Cordon Press
Santiago Abascal, Vox leader. Photo by Cordon Press

FAR-RIGHT party Vox and an eviction company called Desokupa have been making use of a murder in Madrid to stoke anti-immigrant sentiment, despite the fact the two suspects in the killing are Spanish. 

On Monday, the pair are alleged to have stabbed to death the owner of a clothing store in the central Tirso de Mollina square, in what looks to be a robbery gone wrong. 

The suspects – a man aged 58 and a woman of a similar age, according to Spanish daily El Pais  – were arrested on Tuesday afternoon. They are reportedly drug addicts and were known in the neighbourhood. Both have extensive criminal records. 

But all of these facts were ignored by both Vox – a party that could end up in a coalition government with the Popular Party after the July 23 general elections – and Desokupa, both of which published information on social media stating that the crime had been carried out by immigrants. 

“Neither [Prime Minister Pedro] Sanchez nor his deputy prime minister will remember this woman,” wrote Vox leader Santiago Abascal on his Twitter account. “There will be no minutes of silence, no front pages, nor special programs… Only Vox is aware that there are Spaniards who are suffering this migration madness that has been backed by all of the parties.”

Abascal included a link to a story that stated that witnesses had said that a Moroccan national had carried out the crime. Asked about his tweet later that day by the Telecinco television network, he admitted that he had made a mistake by linking to a story ‘that included an error’, but he is yet to delete the tweet. 

Desokupa, meanwhile, which is a highly controversial company due to its racist attitudes and often violent work evicting squatters, published a story on its Instagram account about the killing.

“Today an Algerian has stabbed the owner of this establishment,” read the text with the story. “She died.” 

The account has 260,000 followers and the story was visible for 24 hours before it disappeared. 

“I hope that trash cans are set alight and there is an assault of all of the places in the neighbourhood where Algerians take refuge,” the story added.

According to El Pais, the public prosecutor is investigating whether the messages could constitute hate crimes.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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