Gladys del Estal

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Gladys del Estal Ferreño
Picture of Gladys del Estal
DiedJune 3, 1979(1979-06-03) (aged 23)
OccupationSoftware programmer, ecologist
Known forActivism, death

Gladys del Estal was a computer programmer and ecologist activist from San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain (Caracas, 1956 - Tudela, 1979). She was killed by a bullet shot at her by the Civil Guard during a protest in Tudela, Navarre, against the nuclear station construction program for the Basque Country, and the aircraft firing range of Bardenas. She has since become an important icon of the ecologist movement.


Gladys del Estal was born in Venezuela to parents exiled during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The family returned home, settling down in Egia, Donostia-San Sebastián. The young Gladys had finished her studies at the Faculty of Computer Science at the University of the Basque Country in 1978an,[1] and worked as a programmer in a small computers company.


The anti-nuclear movement called a protest on 3 June 1979 at Tudela, converging with another against the Bardenas aircraft firing range. The Civil Guard took positions in Tudela and charged against the 4,000 marchers who turned out at the demonstration. As marchers fled, a number of them decided to sit down at the bridge against repression, with Gladys among them. A Civil Guard squad approach them, with one of them brandishing an automatic rifle, who shot at the back of the head of the young activist, causing her an immediate death.[2]

The author of the shot was judged, receiving a sentence of 18 months imprisonment in December 1981 for "reckless endangerment", since the tribunal in Pamplona deemed his action was 'unintended'. Just the opposite, fellow ecologist activists who prefer to remain anonymous state that the officer José Martínez Salas would direct an obscene comment at her, for which she insulted him. The officer retorted by shooting at her. Under Spanish premier Felipe Gonzalez, the shooter was awarded the Cross of Military Merit.[2]


A memorial was erected in remembrance of Gladys del Estal at the site where she was killed one year on; it read Gladys gogoan zaitugu (Basque for "Gladys we hold you in our memory"); still it was removed by the Civil Guard. A demonstration was held where protesters chanted slogans against the power company Iberduero and the police forces,[3] at a time of intense violent activity pursued by ETA, police forces acting beyond official missions, and paramilitary groups.[2] The organizers also planted a Basque flag with a black ribbon. The governmental authority reported the organizers for not sticking to the schedule and showing "punishable slogans and attitudes".[3]

She has a memorial in the Cristina Enea Park in Donostia (San Sebastián). 38 on after her death a tribute was staged at the site of her memorial.[4] A footbridge in the city also bears her name.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gladys-ek informatikako lizentziatura zuen (Gladys was a graduate in Computer Science)". e-makumeak bloga (Blog of the basque women computer scientists). 2016-06-07. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  2. ^ a b c "La marcha antipolígono de Bardenas recuerda este año a Gladys del Estal". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  3. ^ a b País, Ediciones El (1980-06-03). "La Guardia Civil retiró un monolito dedicado a Gladys del Estal". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  4. ^ Vasca, EiTB Radio Televisión Pública. "Homenajean a Gladys del Estal en el 38º aniversario de su asesinato". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-09-14.