Spanish village decorates itself in rainbows after Pride flag is banned

When the mayor of the village was forced to take down the flag by the police, a shopkeeper came to the rescue.

Two elderly men with facemarks hold up a Pride flag

The residents of a Spanish village showed true community support when local laws meant that a Pride flag could not be hung from council buildings.

Reuters reported that Juan Civico, the mayor of Villanueva de Algaidas, only became aware of the law when three residents complained about the rainbow flag he had hung up in support of Pride.

The Spanish Supreme Court recently ruled that only official Spanish or EU flags can be hung from council buildings, so the police forced Civico to take the Pride flag down.

Antonio Carlos Alcántara, a shopkeeper from Torremolinos, heard about the situation. “It bothered me that they had to pull down a flag that wasn’t hurting or bothering anyone,” he shared. His business had stocked up on Pride flags, but due to the Spanish lockdown, he had far more than he needed. In an act of kindness, he put a message on the village council’s Facebook page offering a Pride flag to whatever resident wanted one. Because, as Civico explained, “We saw that under the law we had to remove the flag. But the people can put what they like on their balconies.”

Replies to Alcántara’s Facebook post were instantaneous, with 100 residents asking for rainbow flags, and when the shopkeeper drove to the village to hand them over, a further 300 flags were given out. “The whole village wanted to put up a flag,” Alcántara shared.

And when all of the shopkeeper’s flags were handed out – a local shop ordered in a second batch. The little village was soon awash in rainbow colours as a sign of Pride and LGBT+ support. 

The show of community kindness is similar to events last year on a Manchester Street when Alex Hancock was on the receiving end of homophobic abuse. The gay man had hung a Pride flag in his window but was approached by two strangers on the street who hurled abuse and threatened his safety.

Hancock shared what had happened on social media, little expecting the response which was to come from his neighbours. “It all started with one of my neighbours, Liz, who responded to the original email letting them (the other neighbours) know what had happened. She was acting in solidarity and was putting up a flag anyway and said she would put in an order for some more flags and it just spiralled from there.”

Alex was surprised and touched when 30 rainbow flags soon hung from houses up and down Wellington Crescent, displaying their support for all to see. Alex continued, “The community is just very accepting, open and diverse and they wanted to put two fingers up to the haters…

“Often it is the LGBT+ community that speak out when something like this happens, but in this case it has been the whole community. It’s been totally led by my neighbours and that’s really touched me.”

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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