The King Felipe VI has assured this Tuesday that the victims of terrorism are “one of the ethical pillars” of democracy and, together with the law, it represents a fundamental element to avoid “any legitimation or justification” and that the pain caused to its victims is not repeated.
Accompanied by the head of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, the lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, the director of the memorial, Florencio Domínguez, and representatives of associations of those affected, the King has closed the act after visiting the permanent exhibition of the Memorial Center for the Victims of Terrorism in Vitoria, which opens to the public this Wednesday.
“Memory is essential to preserve truth, dignity and justice,” proclaimed Felipe VI at the inauguration, together with Queen Letizia, of the Memorial Center for the Victims of Terrorism of Vitoria.
In his journey, he has acceded with the queen in the replica of the pit in which ETA held José Antonio Ortega Lara kidnapped for 532 days, one of the most symbolic places of the project.
“Preserving the memory of the victims is an exercise of respect and justice, but also an essential element so that future generations always be aware of the seriousness of what happened, of the pain that terrorism causes to the whole society and to its victims in particular, “said the Head of State.
The State and society, he continued, have a “permanent obligation” to combat violence through the law and the actions of the police and judges to prevent it from happening again.
“The memory of the victims and, of course, of the law, constitutes an essential element to avoid any legitimation or justification of terrorism and so that the unjust pain caused to the victims is not repeated,” emphasized the king.
Role of associations
Felipe VI has addressed the associations of affected people to enhance their role “irreplaceable” to preserve the memory of the deceased and threatened, a mention that he already made on March 11 in the commemoration of the European Day of Victims.
The creation of the memorial was agreed in 2014 when the Government of Mariano Rajoy decided that Vitoria was its headquarters. With the new memorial, which opens to the public this Wednesday, “a great step is taken to satisfy the public need for memory.”
“To expose the events that we all remember with greater or less intensity, because we have lived them, and to whose knowledge the generations who have had the fortune not to suffer them will have access, rigorously. It will also allow us to deepen our knowledge of the current threat“, has affirmed.
In the opinion of the monarch, this pioneering project has been developed in a “very satisfactory” way and is called to be “a international benchmark for the visibility of victims of terrorism, of his memory and dignity “.
The monarch thanked the city of Vitoria for the effort made to complete the memorial in the former headquarters of the Bank of Spain.
Act of celebration
Upon arrival at the Memorial, located in the old Bank of Spain in the center of the capital of Alava, the kings were waiting for President Sánchez, and Lehendakari Urkullu, as well as the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and the director of the Memorial Center, Florencio Dominguez, among other institutional representatives and associations and foundations of victims of terrorism.
A wide police perimeter separated them from a few dozen people who have gathered in the vicinity with flags of Spain and they have cheered at the king. There have also been some beeps and screams of “Marlaska resignation”.
After the usual greetings to the institutional representatives and the victims’ associations, taking their hands to their hearts given the health situation caused by the covid, a couple of dancers welcomed those present with an aurresku of honor.
Then the King has uncovered the inaugural plaque and after posing for the photographers, the kings have approached the two dancers to thank them for their dance.
Afterwards, the delegation entered the center to visit the permanent exhibition, guided by the curator of the exhibition, Raúl López Romo.
Shortly before the arrival of the authorities, some 300 people have gathered in the vicinity in protest because in this Memorial Center the victims of State violence only appear “timidly”.
In this rally, called by a dozen memorialist collectives, the protesters have carried republican flags, shouted against the monarchy and supported slogans in Basque in favor of an integral memory and against “discrimination” between victims.
During the rally there have been moments of tension between the participants and the Ertzaintza riot police, although in the end there have been no incidents.