Two puppeteers from Madrid have been arrested after being accused of glorifying terrorism.
Alfonso Lazaro de la Fuente and Raul Garcia Perez, the puppet masters in charge of the Títeres Desde Abajo (Puppets From Below) theatre group were arrested on February 5 after parents who had been watching a show with their children complained to the police.
The show that offended the parent was called “The Witch and Don Cristóbal: everyone gets their comeuppance” and was commissioned by the city of Madrid as part of its carnival celebrations. According to The Spain Report, it featured the raping of a witch, the murder of a pregnant woman, an attempted abortion with a knife, the hanging of a judge and the displaying of sign that read “Gora Alka ETA” — a nonsensical reference to ETA, the armed Basque nationalist and separatist organisation.
ETA is a terrorist group that has been responsibe for the murders of more than 800 people in Spain over the past 40 years. It has been a crime in Spain to praise terrorism since 1995.
On February 7, a judge charged Fuente and Perez with “glorifying terrorism” and now their puppet show has blown up into a weird political scandal. It’s all a little complicated, but basically this is everything that has happened so far.
Spain’s Terrorism Victims Association are taking legal action against Madrid’s cultural councilor Celia Mayer for allowing the show to go ahead. Mayer is taking legal action against the puppeteers for “breach of contract” but is now considering withdrawing it. Madrid’s mayor Manuela Carmena is furious that the “offensive” show was seen by children, but thinks it’s “incomprehensible” that Fuente and Perez have been jailed. She has also announced an investigation into everything that happened.
Meanwhile on Spanish social media, the hashtag #JeSuisTitiritero and #LibertadTitiriteros are being used by supporters of the puppeteers and there is general bewilderment over what has happened.
The story has now gone national and according to CBA, the ruling conservative Popular Party are calling for Mayer to lose her job. Mayer became Madrid’s first left-wing mayor in 24 years in 2015 and is claiming that faux outrage over the puppet show is being used to discredit the leftist city government.
You can watch the offending part of the puppet show with the ETA sign below.