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Madrid street name change stirs political debate

Madrid, Aug 25 (EFE).- The reinstatement of a Madrid street name honoring the founder of the Spanish legion, and which critics say harks back to the country’s fascist past, has stirred up fresh political controversy.

The street had been dedicated to José Millán-Astray, a former Spanish general who fought in the Philippines and Spanish Morocco, and who would later be an influential figure in early Francoist Spain, until its removal in 2017 under the country’s historical memory laws.

At the time, city officials removed 52 other street names honoring figures associated with the dictatorship of Fransisco Franco.

Since then, the street was named after Maestra Justa Freire, after a well-known female teacher during Spain’s Second Republic.

Following an appeal from the Millán Astray Platform and the Francisco Franco Foundation, the Madrid high court ruled that General Millán Astray’s name could be reinstated after absolving him of any direct involvement in the conflict of the Spanish Civil War.

The current mayorship, in the hands of the conservative Popular Party, ordered its reinstatement.

It caused an immediate political stir in the Spanish capital.

Rita Maestra, spokeswoman for the left-wing Más Madrid party, said it was a step backwards while the leftist Podemos party said it was “shameful.”

The mayor’s office of José Luis Martínez-Almeida confirmed to Efe that more street name reinstatements were planned in line with rulings by the Madrid court.

Other Madrid street names that have been the subject of political debate include a sign dedicated to the Division Azul, a unit of Spanish volunteers who fought with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union.EFE

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