An uproar in Spain after talks of retired officers call for a coup

King of Spain

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In Spain, military and politicians criticized messages circulated by retired officers that included calls to take up arms and a coup against power, and the judicial movement began to try this group, amid calls for the royal palace to take firm measures.

According to local news reports, messages circulated through the application of “WhatsApp” among a group of retired army officers, in which there were calls to take up arms and topple the government, and to shoot separatists in the Catalonia region, and a tribute to the late dictator Francisco Franco.

Among the leaked letters, one retired officer commenting on Catalan independence demands, “There is no other choice but to start shooting at 26 million,” and another said, “Someone will have to start doing something against them.” These letters contained vulgar descriptions.

Some of these officers were among dozens of retired officers who wrote to King Philip VI last month, a statement criticizing the left-wing coalition government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The king did not comment on these invitations.

Some of the officers belong to the extreme right, and some of them began their training at the General Air Force Academy in 1963, during Franco of the country.

The commander of the Spanish armed forces, General Miguel Villaroya Villalta, said – in a statement Friday – that these leaked chats “only damage the image of the Spanish armed forces and confuse public opinion.”

Villeroy emphasized that the Spanish armed forces did not look at the past and were “always in the service of the Spanish people and the constitution.”

Defense Minister Margarita Robles has reported to the public prosecutor and said that the activities of nearly 70 former air force officers could be grounds for criminal charges.

And considered that these messages “cause concern, especially in light of a complex political situation, emergencies, pandemic, and economic crisis.”

In turn, the head of the ruling Socialist Workers Party, Enrico Andioza, said – in statements addressed to the king – “Surrounding yourself in silence is not a good example, nor is it the best way to solve a perilous situation.”

On the opposition side, the Popular Party refrained from condemning the comments, while its ally, the far-right Vox Party, said it sympathized with the retired army officers.

It is worth noting that the armed forces were the backbone of Franco’s regime until his death in 1975 and had a major role in the civil war that claimed thousands of lives.

Spain’s transition to democracy did not lead to a widespread purge of military ranks, as 1981 saw a coup attempt by a few members of the paramilitary police force.

Source : Agencies