Home News Torrevieja Carnival Makes Hate-Filled Headlines

Torrevieja Carnival Makes Hate-Filled Headlines

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Torrevieja Carnival

Although the recent wave of both anti-gay and anti-feminine hatred had started to die down, fuelled by the far-right VOX political group immediately after the elections last year, that bias and hatred has reared its ugly head once more, with children´s costumes in Torrevieja Carnival making the headlines amid accusations of exploitation and even paedophilia, whilst the children were simply parading through the streets spreading their childish joy.

The target of the hatred has been towards the Osadía troupe of the Torrevieja Carnival, sparking outrage by political and social ideologies related to feminism and LGTBI groups, based on the costumes the children were wearing, which could easily have been from musicals such as cabaret, or the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the videos of which sparked outrage from far-right groups, and in particular a Christian Lawyers group who immediately threatened legal action.

After the weather postponed the parade until Monday, the social networks of the Torrevieja Carnival Association were filled with accusations of paedophilia. They responded on their Instagram account, saying, “The Torrevieja Carnival Cultural Association will always support all the troupes and participants of our carnivals. And we will always defend freedom in our carnivals,” they write, along with the hashtag #hoysomososadia.

Somewhat ironically, some people even branded the Mayor, Eduardo Dolón, as a “queer fanatic”, “sick paedophile” and others, without realising that even within the gay community in the town, Dolon is criticised for promising to support the local community before the elections, but having regained power, is consistently strangely absent from any of their community events.

Dolón, representing the Council, issued a statement in which he supports “the great Carnival family and the board of directors” of the carnival association. “Carnival is criticism, satire, provocation, fun,” he continues, “and taking out of context and dimensioning an event like the one being criticised is totally out of place.” “I am sure,” says the mayor, “that the intention of the fathers and mothers of these children was not, at all, to hypersexualise their children with their costumes,” but rather to pour out “a criticism of the political and social situation in Spain, nothing else”. Dolón is blunt in his response: “The Torrevieja City Council does not and will not come in to censor or monitor the costumes that the troupe creates each year.” In his opinion, Osadía “has complete freedom to decide what they want to represent.”

Later, in statements to the media after Pedro Sánchez’s visit to the Torrevieja desalination plant, Dolón confirmed that the Council is not going to enter into the controversy. “It would be returning to the Inquisition,” he argues. “Or are we considering that we are going to go to the chirigotas at the Falla Theatre in Cádiz to say what can be done and what cannot be done?” asks the mayor of Torrevieja, who defends his city’s Carnival as “ one of the most important festivals”, attended by “many people, more than 20,000 people saw it in the streets, who were not alarmed” after seeing the proposal of the Osadía troupe. “You have to be calm,” says Dolón, for whom the opinions expressed on networks “are out of place.”

Dolón is the PP mayor of Torrevieja and it was through the agreement between the PP and VOX that much of the hatred now manifesting was facilitated, including the banning of rainbow flags, painting over of benches, and a total rejection of the LGTBI community, which still continues in the areas where it was a requirement for coalitions to govern. The town hall in Torrevieja even allowed a far-right VOX rally to take place in the same place as a previously organised LGTBI outreach event, resulting in the latter being cancelled for fear of the safety of those involved.

Pablo Samper, councillor for the Sueña Torrevieja party has also received insults, after he too defended the costumes, resulting in his Twitter account being hijacked with insults and expletives.

“Almost all of them come from anonymous bot accounts,” emphasises Samper, to whom the explosion of the networks seems like a “quite serious” matter. “Osadía is a very groundbreaking troupe that always tries to use costumes that move away from the classic, from the traditional,” he explains. He maintains that the online harassment that the organisers and participants in the parade are suffering is terrible. “We must defend the freedom, transgression, satire and sarcasm that characterise all carnivals,” he says. The Osadía costumes were not the only ones that appealed to the exhibition among the thirty troupes, with more than 2,000 participants, that paraded during the festivities.

Furthermore, he adds that “the meaning of the costume and the criticism behind it have been taken completely out of context, precisely of the parties and ideologies themselves, and they have tried to use the costumes of minors in a dastardly way to tarnish freedom and satire that represents the carnival”.

Samper assures that during the last few hours, after publishing a post in support of the Carnival and the Osadía troupe on the social network serious thing is not that they insult me, the festival councillor or the mayor of Torrevieja himself, but what we cannot tolerate is that they try to intimidate, harass, insult and threaten the entire Carnival family and especially the affected troupe”.

“We must continue to extract the positive from all the bad things,” concludes Samper, “and all these facts must serve as an impetus to continue working and improving in the next carnivals in 2025.”

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