Supporters mark Franco’s death amid efforts to dig him up

Flowers are placed on the tomb of former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco inside the basilica at the the Valley of the Fallen monument near El Escorial, outside Madrid, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. Tuesday marks the 43rd anniversary of the death of Dictator Gen. Francisco Franco. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

SAN LORENZO DE EL ESCORIAL, Spain (AP) — Around 150 supporters of the late Gen. Francisco Franco have laid flowers and prayed by his tomb in the Valley of the Fallen complex to mark 43 years since the Spanish dictator’s death.

Franco was interred in the mausoleum northwest of Madrid three days after he died on Nov. 20, 1975. Some 34,000 people from both sides of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) are also buried there, most of them never identified.

Tuesday’s commemoration was closely watched by Civil Guard officers who were on patrol to stop any pro-dictatorship propaganda. A man carrying an illegal Franco regime flag was escorted from the grounds.

Plans by the Socialist-led government to exhume Franco from the site have been met with fierce opposition from the late dictator’s heirs.

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