Spain takes steps to depoliticize Franco's massive mausoleum

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For many Franco's mausoleum, with its giant granite cross that is visible for kilometers around, is a painful reminder of the suffering endured under Franco's repressive dictatorship, which only ended after his death in 1975. But a controversial law to be voted on by parliament Wednesday which aims to honor the the victims of the 1936-39 civil war and the dictatorship that followed it, includes measures to depoliticize the grounds.

The "law of historical memory" would ban political rallies from being held at the mausoleum in celebration of Spain's former dictator or his ideological mentor Primo de Rivera who is also buried there.

Every November 20 -- the anniversary of Franco's death in 1975 and that of Rivera in 1936 -- supporters of the late dictator stage a ceremony in honor of the two leaders at the Valley of the Fallen.

The law could also lead to the removal of two large stone shields in honor of the Franco regime located at the entry to the mausoleum under a requirement that all symbols of the dictatorship be removed from public buildings.

Churches with plaques commemorating Franco and the victims of his republican opponents risk losing state aid if they refuse to remove them.

The law would declare "illegitimate" the verdicts of summary trials the Franco regime staged against people suspected of opposing it.

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