More than 300 people participated in an act of allegiance to Spain and the Spanish flag in Vélez-Málaga last Saturday, amid the Catalonian independence crisis.
The event, which was led by the Regulares de Melilla 52 regiment, took place along the town's Avenida Las Naciones and was watched by more than 1,000 spectators. It was the first of its kind in the town.
Among the 331 people who took the opportunity to swear allegiance to their country were Vanesa Elías and her cousin Rocío, who were wearing the traditional mantilla, or black headdress. They said that they had both wanted to join the army as young girls, but that their parents wouldn't allow them to do so and the event was an opportunity to show their commitment to their country.
Seventy-two-year-old José Antonio López said that it was something he had always wanted to do as he had been unable to take part in military service as a young man in 1966 as he had had to look after his family.
The event was organised six months ago and was therefore a coincidence that it took place during mounting tension between Madrid and Barcelona over the situation in Catalonia. However, many people participating in the act felt that it was the “ideal” occasion to reaffirm their sense of national pride as Spanish citizens.
Colonel-in-Chief of the Regulares de Melilla 52 regiment, Tomás García Palacios, gave a speech during the event, in which he referred to aspects of Malaga for which the province is famous, including the artist Pablo Picasso, espetos (grilled sardines), the Gibalfaro castle in Malaga city and the Caminito del Rey.