The Department of Tourism is holding different talks to explain the historical background that will be the theme of this year’s Alcoy Modernist Fair.
In the previous two years, the event was held the first theme was the suffragette movement and a woman’s right to vote while last year’s them focused on workers demanding no more than an eight hours work day.
This year’s event will be all about the protests in Spain that took place during the colonial war in Morocco and the unfair system of recruitment that saw only the children of the poor go off to fight.
By the early years of the 20th century, Spain was locked in what seemed like an unending power struggle between the workers and the factory owners with neither able to maintain the upper hand for long.
Two events in 1909 bolstered support for another general strike in Barcelona. A textile factory was shut down, with 800 workers fired. Across the industry, wages were being cut. Workers, even outside the textile industry, began to plan for a general strike. At around the same time, the government announced that military reserves would be called up to fight in Morocco, where tribesmen were skirmishing with Spanish troops. The reservists, mostly working men, were not keen to risk their lives or kill others to protect what they characterised as the interests of Spanish capitalists.
At the time Alcoy was a prominent player in the textile industry and a hotbed for the left calling for better working and social conditions.
The tension was felt in many cities of Alicante on the morning of Sunday, July 25, 1909.
The people formed corrosion at the doors of the houses, reading and commenting on the news in groups as the morning or evening editions of the newspapers came out, or when they arrived by mail. In the premises of the workers’ societies and café’s conversations took place around the public acts convened against the war, which had been organized for that same afternoon in a good part of the cities of the province, although They were systematically banned by local authorities following government guidelines issued a few days earlier.
In Alcoy, the request for a demonstration officially called by Socialists and Republicans had also been denied, which led to the publication of a manifesto in the newspaper La Fraternidad, denouncing the constitutional usurpation and announcing that the convocation was maintained, now supported by almost all the workers’ societies and acclaimed by the population.
The alarm ran through the streets of the city of Serpis. The workers were determined to act, while the forces of public order were quartered in the command of the Vizcaya Regiment, whose detachment was at a minimum due to numerous soldiers being away on summer leave.
In the middle of the afternoon, a massive demonstration started towards the upper part of the city, going through the streets of the town. When they reached the main squares, the march stopped, with speeches widely applauded.
The civil guard on horseback soon appeared, and immediately began its characteristic ritual of intimidation, but the defiant crowd uttered screams and threats. In spite of the tension reached, clear heads prevailed and the crowd dispersed.
Councillor for Tourism, Lorena Zamorano commented that “in previous fairs, the historical events, both the vote of the woman and the 8 working hours, were better known, but in this case, it is a historical conflict that we found interesting to make known in more depth and put in perspective so that people would know what was the reason why it was manifested. ”
If you would like to know more about this year’s Modernist Fair and the reason behind the theme you can attend a lecture to be held on Monday, June 17th at 7:30 p.m. on the Plaça Enric Valor and on Tuesday, June 25th at 7:30 p.m. in the Zona Norte park.