Organizers: City Trying to Kill Gay Pride in Madrid


Organizers of Madrid's Gay Pride festivalsay the city is trying to financially "strangle" the event by imposing excessive fines that will shut it down if they continue, the Guardian reports:

"You can't levy such barbaric fines on an event that's so important to the city," said Boti Rodrigo, president of the Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales. "These fines put the survival of Madrid Pride in serious jeopardy."

This is the fourth successive year the festival has been fined for noise violations. Past fines ranged from €35,000-€50,000, against which organisers successfully appealed and had reduced or waived. The courts have so far reduced one of the fines to €600, but have yet to rule on the other two. This year's edition of Madrid Pride, held in July, earned 15 fines totalling €159,809. Organisers have appealed against the fines, but said it could take more than a year before they find out if their appeal is successful.

"We've never seen city hall so short-sighted, with such little political will towards us," said Rodrigo. The celebration of gay pride, started in 1979, attracts an estimated 1.5 million people each year and offers the city a chance to "show that Madrid is an open, multicultural and tolerant city".

The root of the problem appears to be in Madrid's mayor Ana Botella:

"She's putting up permanent barriers to our success," said Rodrigo. "What's clear is that the ideology of a person, when that person is the mayor of Madrid, shouldn't interfere at all in her political responsibilities."

In 2011, when Botella was Madrid's councillor for the environment, she introduced stringent noise limits in residential areas. The restrictions forced Madrid Pride to resort to silent concerts, where participants danced to music streaming through their headphones.


  1. Roman Bolliger says

    Ana Botella is the wife of former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar, both members of the national-catholic-right-wing-conservative Partido Popular PP. The PP is heavily influenced by the ideology of longtime Spanish fascist dictator Francisco Franco and the most conservative ultra-catholic ideology of Opus Dei. Some years ago, the wedding ceremony of a daughter of Aznar-Botella was officiated by Madrids Cardinal-Archbishop Rouco Varela, a fervent prosecutor of gay rights.

    Franco death in the mid 1970ies propulsed the PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español) to power, and under its years of government Spain and its capital Madrid (with its “movida”) grew to be worldwide symbols of gay liberation and gay right.

    But since the return to power of the PP a few years ago (actually: absolute majority, prime minister Mariano Rajoy, Aznars political son) in the context of the worldwide and especially the South-European economic crisis, the conservative catholic backlash is at work.

    It’s a pity, it’s a shame. And it is a clear sign that once attained goals are never guaranteed.

  2. Matt27 says

    I don’t think it is able to stop from happening. It is a huge event, happening and what about all the lgbt tourists traveling to Madrid and bringing much needed money?

  3. jjose712 says

    Ana botella just a disgrace. She not only is ridiculous (his speech on the olympic selection was laughable and pathetic) but a pretty active homophobe.
    Fortunately she doesn’t have any future. She wasn’t elected by votes (she was put there when the major, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón was elected for the goverment), and her time as major is full of big big mistakes.

    The church hierarchy here is not happy with the new pope, because they know for sure that new elected cardinals are going to be a lot less extreme. And their influence is less and less every year.

    Botella is totally done, and there are rumours that she won’t be the candidate of the party, because the polls are clear, and PP is bound to lose the capital (they are in the power for more than 20 years) if she is the candidate.

    There are a good bunch of dinosaurs in the conservative party (wich is plagued with accusations of corruption right now), fortunately not everyone is that way.
    They had the chance to reverse gay marriage, and they decided not to do it. Maybe because the justice minister is (even very conservative in other aspects) quite pro gay rights (he marry at least a bunch of couples back when he was major) and of course because Spain has a lot of other problems, and the polls are (and were) very favorable to gay marriage

  4. Mike says

    No two ways about it, Ana Botella is trying to kill one of the most popular destinations for ALL people, gay and straight in Europe. Throwing away the money that would be loss alone is sickening. It would put many people out of business and set Spain back years . . .

  5. jjose712 says

    Tyler: Nobody voted for her. She was number two on the list (and it was put there because pressions of the most conservative part of the party), and only become mayor when the real mayor was upgraded to minister.
    She is really unpopular and i highly doubt she will be the chosen one in the next elections.
    She is pretty bad at her job. She was ridiculed non stop for her ridiculous speech at the olympic selection, and was pathetic in the q&a part. Last year she decided to go to spa to celebrate her wedding aniversary just in the middle of a crisis with five dead girls in an overcrowded concert, wich was her responsability because it was owned by the city hall.
    And till last week Madrid was full of rubbish because a strike that she was unable to avoid (in fact she helped with her ineptitude to prolonge the strike).

    We are responsible for waste our votes on bad candidates, but not this time

  6. Tyler says

    Oh hey, Rick. I see you’re posting as me again and linking me to a fake little kiwi page. If you’re trying to convince people I’m Kiwi, why not just link me to his actual page.

  7. pete n sfo says

    Wow… that seems crazy. There must be many more events that can’t happen in Madrid if held to the same ridiculous parameter.

    Madrilenos, Una huelga? Vamanos!

  8. RJP3 says

    Does not surprise me – there is quite a bit of history of Fascist Catholic repression in Spain is there not? The 1970’s saw them still in power — and that was not that long ago for the movement not to still be in the air. I had quite a sense of it while in Barcelona and Sitges – also gay friendly cities – but the elitist conservative movement was there as well.