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Monument to Falls in Pamplona: derribo or transformation?

  • What will be done with the Monument to Falls of Pamplona? This is one of the main themes of this legislature in the last weeks of the City Headquarters. On Wednesday, Mayor Joseba Asiron announced to journalists that this legislature will find a solution to the issue and it will be the citizens who decide.
Eraikina hartzen duen plaza lehen Rodezno Kondea deitzen zen, eta 2016az geroztik Askatasunaren plaza. (Argazkia: Jorab / Wikimedia)

11 April 2024 - 11:09

The monument was built in 1942 by the Francoists in tribute to the dead in favor of the coup during the 1936 War. The groups and people who have worked for memory in Navarra have always called for the demolition of the monument because they consider that its mere presence again victimizes the victims of Franco.

However, for UPN and PSN who have ruled the Navarre institutions after the transition, it has never been a priority to demolish the monument or modify its meaning. Until the political change of 2015 there were no movements in Navarra against the Monument to Falls. However, the new laws of the Spanish memory forced the retouching of the building, so all reference to the Franco fall was covered from the facade and other functions were attributed to the building, such as the exhibition hall.

We had to wait until 2015 for the City of Pamplona to address for the first time the issue in terms of demolition or transformation. Thus, the municipal government of Joseba Asiron launched a broad process on the future of the monument. During this time, the remains of Carlists and Falangists buried in the building, including Generals Mola and Sanjurjo, were also exhumed and a competition process was opened to decide the future of the monument and its surroundings.

Seven projects were presented, one of which proposed the demolition of the monument. Another six proposed the transformation of the building and the place, including the memory, but giving the place a new sense and use. However, among the supporters of the transformation, some propose demolishing part of the building. In any case, Navarra Suma, led by UPN, won the next municipal elections and suspended the municipal government project in Asiron.

The cry of institutions in favor of memory: “Melt!”

Since the beginning of the legislature, most of the memory associations in Navarra are strongly calling for the demolition of the monument. Last Saturday, for example, 26 of these associations, which have been organized in the Assembly of Defenders of the Dismantling of the Monument to Falls, performed the event in the Plaza de la Libertad, as it is called since 2016. On Wednesday they also met Unai Hualde, President of the Navarre Parliament.

The municipal government of Asuncion says that the monument will be demolished or transformed, as the citizens decide. However, the possibility of current demolition is impossible, among other reasons, because in Navarra the patrimonial entity Príncipe de Viana protects the building. Therefore, in the event that it is decided to be demolished in the proceedings, the City of Pamplona should ask the Parliament of Navarre to amend the Foral Law to guarantee this level of protection.

The matter will have to be dealt with beyond the town hall, so Unai Hualde has promised the rightwing groups to take it to parliament. As Asiron said to the media this Wednesday, he has his opinion on the subject, but he did not say so, because he feels it has to be fair. UPN would leave the building and the space as it is, and the other major parties have not so far clarified their position.

However, the Government of Navarre will be the key lever for combating the derrib. The Director of Peace and Coexistence of the Government of Navarra, Martín Zabraise, who brings the issue of memory, has pointed out that the Government is no longer in favour of the demolition, and the PSOE is officially working on this line in both Navarre and the Spanish State.

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