First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups
|First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups
Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre (GRAPO)
Flag of the PCE(r) and the GRAPO, based on the Spanish Republic flag
|Motives||The creation of a Socialist republic in Spain|
The First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Groups (Spanish: Grupos de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre, GRAPO) is a Spanish clandestine Marxist Leninist group aiming for the formation of a Spanish Republican state.
To date, the latest violent action inflicted by GRAPO dates from 2006. After having been fairly active in the late 1970s and early 1980s, currently the dwindling number of its militants, lack of any social support and police action has allowed Spanish officials to claim a number of times to have disbanded the GRAPO after the few remaining militants of the band were captured. According to the Spanish police, GRAPO was disbanded after six of its militants were arrested in June 2007 but, formally, the group has not announced its dissolution.
GRAPO is included in the European Union list of terrorist persons and organisations.
GRAPO has its origins in the Organisation of Marxist–Leninists of Spain (OMLE), which dissolved itself in its first congress in 1975. At the beginning of 1976, two months after General Francisco Franco’s death, during the Spanish transition to democracy from dictatorship, the Communist Party of Spain (Reconstituted) (PCE-r) began a struggle against the political reforms. The PCE(r) restructured itself into different commissions; one of these was a “front against fascism”, founded by Juan Carlos Delgado de Codex, which became the GRAPO.
This newly-born movement was named after the killing of four Spanish policemen on October 1, 1975, the first violent action of the PCE(r). The "Antifascist Resistance Groups October First" (GRAPO) took this date as a starting point as a terrorist organization. Only two months later, after five PCE(r) supporters were killed by the Spanish police during demonstrations in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the PCE(r) told its sympathizers to take up arms and create the nucleus of a future Spanish “Red Army” which would be directed by a central command. A number of explosive devices were detonated in different locations in Spain on July 18, 1976 and GRAPO claimed responsibility for the coordinated explosions in the press, becoming well-known overnight.
After the high-profile kidnapping of wealthy politician Antonio María de Oriol y Urquijo in 1976 and general Villaescusa in 1977, as well as the killing of more Spanish policemen, GRAPO became established as a terrorist group, in a similar manner as Revolutionary Antifascist Patriotic Front (FRAP) had been in Francoist Spain.
Even though GRAPO increased its activity from 1979 onwards, it didn’t reach any of its goals and the sympathy the group had in left-wing circles waned during the 1980s. The transitional democratic regime was not destabilized and GRAPO didn’t appear to the Spanish public as a "heroic" communist group.
In 1984 the Spanish authorities issued an anti-terrorist law inspired by the Italian model which facilitated the operations of the police against GRAPO and many arrests followed. GRAPO reacted simplifying its structure while “waiting for better times”. It continued its clandestine activities at a lower level by means of mobile militants, which easily formed and easily split up, becoming difficult to detect.
As years passed by police intervention allowed serious blows to GRAPO's structure. Currently the group is basically inactive, yet not formally self-dissolved.
Summary of GRAPO's activity
GRAPO has a low level of popular support and the group has been said to be "killing as a means of surviving". Since its inception in 1975 to 2007 it has assassinated 84 people, including police, military personnel, judges and civilians, either by means of bombings or shootings. Given GRAPO's precarious finances, a number of its militants have been killed during a bank robbery. The group has also committed a number of kidnappings, initially for political reasons, later on, mainly for extortion. Its last attack was committed in 2006, when GRAPO militants shot dead Ana Isabel Herrero, the owner of a temporary work agency in Zaragoza.
GRAPO's leader Manuel Pérez 'Arenas' was sentenced in a French court in the year 2000 for criminal conspiracy with terrorist intent. Spain issued a request seeking his immediate extradition from France. To date GRAPO has not publicly named his successor.
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