THE mayor of a town in northern Spain has apologised after being caught on camera making a Francoist salute in front of the flag Spain used while under fascist rule.
The left-leaning Partido Socialista in La Rioja called for the resignation of Miguel Angel Gomez de Pedro, the Mayor of Gallinero de Cameros, after the video was posted to YouTube. He was delivering a Christmas message to residents of the town.
Gomez de Pedro, of the conservative Partido Popular (PP), said he was parodying the salute but added he now recognised the gesture was made in bad taste.
“I want to publicly apologise to all those people who have been offended. It is clear that the issues addressed and the symbols used can annoy and offend those who watch the video without understanding the context,” the mayor said.
PSOE’s La Rioja branch said no politician should make such a gesture in Spain today, even if it is intended as a joke.
“The PP of La Rioja should ask the mayor to resign. If they do not then they will be accomplices in an apology for Francoism,” PSOE said.
Gomez de Pedro called for the unity of Spain in the video before claiming foreigners and immigrants were “destroying” Spain.
He ended the video with the salute and said: “Long Live Spain!”
The salute, which resembles that used by the Nazis and Fascist Italy, was adopted in Spain under former dictator Francisco Franco.