Past protest causes headache for new councillor

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RITA MAESTRE, council spokesperson for the Ahora Madrid party and one of Spain’s new wave of politicians from the protest movements, faces calls for her resignation just four days after accepting her post. The 27-year-old participated in a protest in a university chapel in 2011, which she described as “a peaceful demonstration” about “secularism and women’s rights.”
Spanish media paint the scene in a more controversial light, reporting that protestors charged into the chapel in Madrid’s Complutense University and some removed their tops and shouted anti-Catholic and women’s rights slogans, for example: “Get your rosaries out of our ovaries.”
The courts are assessing the case and prosecutors are pushing for a one-year jail sentence. Maestre defended herself in a tweet, saying: “Four years ago I participated in a non-violent demonstration in favour of secularism. They should get used to it: people with a past of commitment are taking the institutions.”
Maestre’s party is standing behind her, saying that the incident in no way disqualifies her from the job. According to the Ahora Madrid spokesperson: “There are many activists among our candidates and we do not think it is something punishable.”
This comes right on the heels of the resignation of the party’s cultural affairs councillor, Guillermo Zapata, after his 2011 Twitter comments joking about the Holocaust came to light.

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