Far-right Spanish party campaigns against face masks

Spanish Nationalist leader doing the nazi saluteJosé Luis Corral also takes part in far-right marches and conventions

The party has repeatedly called the Spanish government a totalitarian regime for imposing coronavirus safety measures.

Acción Juvenil Española is a patriotic religious party aimed at reintroducing traditional catholic values into politics and society. 

The party was founded during the Spanish Civil War and acted as the spokesperson for far-right dictator Francisco Franco.

José Luis Corral, the party’s leader, called the Spanish government “totalitarian, because they meddle in our lives”.

“Like now: you are going to get vaccinated, you´ll wear the muzzle, you´ll be home arrested… It´s a totalitarian state, the state dictates everything.”

Spain currently has 790,081 active cases and sums up a total of 33,992 coronavirus-related deaths. If the spread doesn’t slow down, it’s predicted that Spain will hit the one million mark of total cases this weekend. 

From the 13th of August, the Spanish government ruled the “Estado de Alarma” which made it compulsory for all nationals and visitors to wear face masks in public places, movement between regions had to be justified and meetings were limited to a maximum of six people. 

Since then, free-movement of people was overruled by the opposition but the other measures stay in place. 

While some groups actively campaign against the use of face masks, Spanish healthcare officials argue that the current measures are the only way to slow down the spread of COVID-19. 

A medicine student from Madrid Complutense University stated that “COVID spreads through droplets, so even though the virus might not be stopped by the face masks, most of the droplets will” said Belén Gómez. 

“It’s a very good measure to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and in combination with all the other measures – such as washing your hands and social distancing – it’s going to help the health care system in our country not to collapse.”

In regards to the anti-face masks groups and individuals, Belén believes “these people might feel special by inventing this kind of theories and I really think they are misinformed and maybe they should have a more open mind to see what actually is happening.”

“We are actually in a global pandemic, so I just think that’s really important for them to see things the way they are.”

Famous personalities like Donald Trump, Steven Crowder and Miguel Bose have made fun of people who wear face masks; but their lack of scientific evidence backlashed against them on Twitter and other social media platforms.

On the other hand, national and international health organizations have made an effort to stop the growth of misinformation. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that “in light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments”.

About the Author

Álvaro Casás Arrojo
Year 3 Leeds Beckett Journalism Student

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