Dozens of cribs have been placed at Madrid’s Puerta de Alcalá to protest the far left mayor’s decision to abolish the city’s traditional Nativity display.
An illuminated Nativity scene adorned Madrid’s iconic arches for a decade, but when the extreme left Madrid Now party came to power last year, Mayor Manuela Carmena ditched the display on the grounds it was not “art”. In its place, the council installed some light-up flowers, which proved unpopular.
In protest locals of all ages, from across the city, have this year brought dozens of small Nativity scenes to the monumental gate, leaving posters and messages asking Carmena to respect Spain’s Christmas traditions.
One letter among the display explains: “Many people living in Madrid feel proud to be Catholics, Christians, and Spaniards. As such, we like to celebrate Christmas and the arrival of Jesus, which for us is central to this holiday.”
It asks that Carmena “have respect for Spain’s tradition and culture and don’t make the city go without its Nativity scene, which means so much.”
“The withdrawal of the Nativity scene seems to me a provocation. We are a Catholic country and if we celebrate Christmas it is because Jesus was born,” Paloma Gutiérrez told El País while placing a crib at the gate.
Another local, Fátima Falcón García, said: “The Nativity scene did not bother anyone, and it represented the real meaning of Christmas.”
— Fátima Falcón García (@FtimaFalcnGarc2) December 21, 2016
Word spread on social media when the first few figures of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph appeared at the monument, with Twitter users urging locals in Madrid to adorn the gate with Nativity scenes with the hashtag #PontuBelenPuertadeAlcala
— Elena Y. 🇸 (@elenay29) December 23, 2016
— Ines San Martin (@inesanma) December 22, 2016
— No es lo mismo 💣 (@averqsemeocurre) December 21, 2016
Since becoming mayor in June last year, Carmena has been accused of hostility to Christianity, one example being when she boycotted a mass held for victims of the terror attack in Paris last year. The Now Madrid politician also tried to ban a pro-life demonstration, by denying a series of necessary permits for the march.
Carmena raised eyebrows in September when she celebrated 100 migrants jumping a fence from Morocco to enter Spanish territory illegally, saying of the migrants: “We want them to come with us and we really want them, dear friends, because they are the best, the bravest.
“The history of humanity is full of the great wealth that race-mixing and migration brings.”