There's been a spate of photo-burnings lately. And not the kind accompanied by a glass of wine, a trash can, and a stack of pictures of your ex. A couple of weeks ago when King Juan Carlos I was in Girona, Catalunya to inaugurate a new Technological Park some kids (late teens) burned a picture of him and the queen. Apparently the act of burning a picture of the monarch is illegal in Spain and a search ensued to find the perpetrators. So far two of the first group have been identified with a reported nine witnesses to be identified and questioned next week. Also in for questioning is the photographer who documented the incident and who has refused to surrender the rest of his film from that day. In support of that first group and to add fuel to the fire (pun intended) four masked people repeated the act today at the University of Barcelona. Rumor has it that people are also organizing a massive "photo-burning" demonstration on October 12, Spanish National Day.
Unlike the States, burning of the flag, or a picture of the figurehead leader, is illegal in Spain. Most of the demonstrations involving such activities are in protest of the Spanish national government and in favor of regional independence - Catalunya, Pais Vasco, etc. When doing some research online I found a website, Burntflag.com, that allows you to express disgust with your country of choice without fear of legal repercussions. Interestingly enough the top flag burned online is from Spain - 46% of the total!! Are Spaniards more disgruntled with their government than the rest of the world? Or does the illegality of the burning, flag or photo, make it somehow more appealing? Would it be such a statement and gather such attention if it weren't illegal? It seems to me as though the government and press is furthering the cause of the demonstrators by giving them such national coverage.