Authorities in Spain plan on exhuming the remains of the former dictator Gen. Francisco Franco on Thursday in order to remove the body from a giant mausoleum he built on the outskirts of Madrid.
The controversy has been going on for decades with some—including families of Spanish Civil War victims—calling on the body to be removed from the major tourist destination, the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum.
Tourists visit the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum near El Escorial, outskirts of Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. Spanish Supreme Court rules that government can exhume remains of Gen. Francisco Franco. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Reuters reported that about 43 percent are in favor of the move while 32.5 percent were opposed.
Franco’s family had hoped to block the exhumation or at least have the body reburied in central Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral, an idea vehemently opposed by the government.
Reuters reported that about 500,000 died during the civil war that he was behind. He will be buried alongside his wife in another cemetery north of Madrid and his family will be there to witness the removal.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez celebrated the decision in a tweet: “The determination to make up for the suffering of the victims of Francoism has always guided the government’s action,” he wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report