Wednesday, July 6

A xenophobic attack destroys an exhibition in Santiago on the occasion of Refugee Day

Several cubes with the names of deceased migrants were prepared in the Alameda de Santiago de Compostela for an exhibition on the occasion of World Refugee Day, which is commemorated this Sunday. On Saturday three of them appeared damaged and this same Sunday, another four. Sources from the Santiago City Council, which organizes the exhibition, have explained to this newsroom that the indications suggest that it is not acts of vandalism, but of xenophobia. There is another exhibition on Civil Protection in the same place and there has not been any attack. The damage occurred a few meters and a day and a half after a Vox act in which its general secretary, Javier Ortega Smith, was present, but the consistory indicates that it is unknown if there is a relationship.

The cubes are covered by panels on four of their faces in which you can read the names of 40,555 refugees whose deaths are documented and how they occurred. They were already in the Alameda Compostela waiting for the exhibition to be formally opened next week.

The councilor in charge of the citizen security area, Gonzalo Muíños, states that the suspicion is that “it is not an act of vandalism” without more. Only the panels with the names of refugees have been attacked and they have been attacked two nights in a row. After seeing the damage on Saturday morning, in the early hours of Sunday a local police patrol was monitoring the area. “They must have been vigilant – those responsible for the damage – because they waited for a moment when they weren’t there and they damaged three others,” says the mayor.

On Thursday there was in the mall, a few meters from where the cubes were, an act of Vox with civil guards. “It does not have to be related. Or yes. It is not known,” says Muíños. The councilor has condemned what happened: “It is a shame.” Municipal workers will remove the damaged parts to avoid possible safety risks because they can be sharp. Other sources from the City Council, governed by the PSOE, point to a xenophobic motivation. “Something like this had never happened in Santiago,” they lament.

The Councilor for Social Policies, Mila Castro, has also condemned what happened, which she described as “acts of vandalism and a hate crime.” “You cannot remain impassive, since they put into question the coexistence, cohesion and rights of migrants and refugees,” he said. The municipal government will put on the table tomorrow an institutional statement to reject the attack that will be discussed in full this month.