Torremolinos marks 50th anniversary of Pasaje Begoña police raids

Torremolinos marks 50th anniversary of Pasaje Begoña police raids
  • A commemorative ceremony was held in the Palacio de Congresos and highlighted a key moment in the town’s ongoing fight for diversity

Torremolinos town hall held a special commemorative ceremony on Monday to mark the 50th anniversary of the police raids that took place in Pasaje Begoña in June 1971.

The event, which was held in the Palacio de Congresos, was attended by Mayor of Torremolinos José Ortiz; the General Director of Gender Violence, Equal Treatment and Diversity of the Junta de Andalucía, Ángel Mora; the Delegate of Citizen Participation of Seville city hall, Adela Castaño Diéguez, and the president of the Pasaje Begoña Association, Jorge Pérez.

The ceremony highlighted a key moment in the history of the town’s continual fight for diversity. Hosted on Pride Day 2021, the event was organised in conjunction with another ceremony held in Seville on Sunday that was attended by the city’s mayor, Juan Espadas. Both events highlighted the struggle for LGBT rights, and the importance of remembering events like the one that took place in Torremolinos in 1971.

The ceremony included testimonies of several residents who were present during the raids, when more than 300 people were arrested during a police crack-down on the area.

Ortiz said, “We are historically a benchmark and our future project is based on not taking a step back from what has been achieved. We will continue to shed light on the struggle for LGBT+ rights in the world."

President of the Pasaje Begoña Association added that this type of event “commemorates the people who put Torremolinos in the forefront on a global level”.

“It's been very exciting to see so many people who fought and who made it possible in such a difficult time. Today's message is that it is possible to live together. Diversity is important and we must continue to fight,” he declared

The Pasaje Begoña, which has been illuminated with the rainbow flag colours to mark the anniversary, was one of the leading places for nightlife between 1962 and 1971. The small passageway gained prominence for opening the first gay bar (Tony’s Bar) in Spain. However, Torremolinos quickly acquired a reputation as a town where drugs and homosexuality were common place, and where foreigners from around the world came in search of free love and debauchery. It was during this period that the permissive attitudes and lifestyles of the gay community in Torremolinos began to make headlines. Spain was still under an extremely devout Catholic dictatorship and the provincial and local authorities had come under increasing pressure to do something about the situation.