9 February 2016

Spanish puppeteers jailed for glorifying terrorism

Free the puppeteers campaign in Spain

Two puppeteers in Spain have reportedly been jailed, charged with “glorifying terrorism” during a children’s show in Madrid. Alfonso Lazaro de la Fuente and Raul Garcia Perez were arrested after staging a show featuring the hanging of an effigy of a judge, the stabbing of a nun with a crucifix and several police beatings, according to reports.

The two puppeteers were detained without possibility of bail Friday for using a sign saying, "Long Live Alka ETA," in a word-play reference to Spain's armed Basque group ETA and al Qaeda.

The Puppet Play of Don Cristóbal (Retablillo de Don Cristóbal) is a play for puppet theatre by the twentieth-century Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca. It was written in 1931 and was first performed on 11 May 1935 at the Book Fair in Madrid, in a performance in which Lorca operated the puppets himself. Don Cristóbal is a kind of Punch character, who also appears in García Lorca's earlier puppet play, The Billy-Club Puppets (written in 1931).

I have only been exposed to limited information about this curious case. Let me add that this is certainly not the first time this type of arrest has taken place in Europe in recent years. As our world moves closer to the right, freedom of expression is loosing it's power and this is exactly the reason I have been covering these type of events in my documentary film, 'The Puppet and The Power' (currently still in production).

I shall certainly get in touch with sources closer to the story in Spain later today and keep readers posted as the story unfolds.

In the meanwhile, you can find more reports on this story in the media, here and here.

There is a petition on FaceBook in Spanish, which calls for the immediately release of the two Spanish puppeteers. You can find it here!

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