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Spain exhumes remains of dictator Francisco Franco

Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's remains were exhumed on Thursday from the state mausoleum in the Valley of the Fallen where they have lain since his death more than four decades ago.

Reburial alongside former wife

They were to be taken for reburial alongside the remains of his former wife in a private vault in the Mingorrubio cemetery north of Madrid.


Franco's family carries him

Footage showed members of Franco's family carrying his coffin out of the tomb following the exhumation, which took place behind closed doors.


Protests against exhumation

About 100 supporters of Francisco Franco gathered outside the Mingorrubio Cemetery in Madrid on Thursday to show solidarity with the late general's family and protest against the government's decision to exhume the Spanish dictator and remove his remains from the Valley of the Fallen.


Memorial in making

The ruling Socialists have long sought to exhume Franco's remains and turn the Valley of the Fallen complex near the capital Madrid into a memorial to the 500,000 people who were killed during the 1936-39 civil war he unleashed.


34,000 lie there

The Valley of the Fallen mausoleum holds the bodies of 34,000 Spaniards who died during the war, including many from the losing Republican side whose bodies were moved there during Franco's rule without the permission of their families.


Public it torn

The location of Franco's tomb continues to fracture Spanish opinion with 43 per cent in favour of the move and 32.5 per cent against, according to a poll published by El Mundo earlier this month.


An election gimmick?

Spain is facing its fourth election in four years in November and moving Franco's remains from the state mausoleum had long been a Socialist pledge.