Tuesday
Feb082011

Aftermath of the Riots

Aftermath of the Riots

© Toe Tag

(on a concept by Maria Fernanda Sivori)

 

 

A Near Future…

 

One week after the riots of Madrid, the Spanish prime minister moved for a state of martial law. It was necessary, he said, to maintain public order so that innocents would not be endangered by the unruly rioters. So he transferred full powers to the Ministerio de Interior head of office, Ángela Jurado, in order to make the process of reestablishing public safety easier and quicker.

Ángela Jurado, in full possession of the State’s police and armed forces, worked closely with the Ministerios of Defensa and Justicia, respectively headed by Milagros Sánchez and Pureza Contreras. The next few days went by with many arrests in the larger Spanish cities. The rioters’ ringleaders were identified, arrested and summarily tried by the local authorities, acting under directives of the central government. During two days, Madrid Mayor, Miss Fernanda Sivori, personally supervised the public executions by firing squad of over eighty rioters that were considered instrumental to the plotting and organization of the Madrid Riots.

But the process did not stop there, it went on. Though the government had considered the main problem solved, Ángela Jurado ordered borders to be closed so that eventual ‘terrorists on the run’ could not escape. Troops were stationed on strategic points in order to ‘apprehend suspects in the act of fleeing’. Clearly, Miss Jurado had squashed the rioters, but she thought her work had not finished yet.

On the early hours of March 13, a Friday night, in every major city in Spain, police and army officers operating under the direct order of the Ministerio de Interior, went to the houses of several hundreds political and administrative figures and placed them under arrest without delay. Lead people from every political color, both government and opposition, were detained in a matter of hours in a precise and almost simultaneous clockwork operation. The whole country woke up the next day in shock: the entire top political class had been put behind bars overnight.

In a televised speech that same Saturday, Ángela Jurado stated the reasons that had made her take such drastic actions: she considered that the economic and social failure of government policies were in fact the ultimate reasons why the riots had occurred, so political responsibilities had to be asserted through judicial system. She appointed herself provisional Head of State and maintained the need for martial law to contain unnecessary civil unrest.

The trials began without delay on Monday 16. Pureza Contreras concentrated a total of 50 judges, 42 of which were female, on the trials. She secretly ordered the proceedings to be simple and swift. The defendants’ reaction ranged between total disbelief of their ordeal and a certain initial arrogance. Many called for their personal lawyers to represent them, only to find out many had been arrested as well. As all arrests were made in such secrecy very few of the detainees knew there had been mass arrests until after the passing of sentence. It was assured to them that they would get a fair trial and if it was the case of being found guilty of wrongdoing, they would have to be immediately exonerated. Moreover, the court and prison proceedings were so efficiently conducted that none of them felt really threatened at any time.

By Wednesday 18 morning the press began questioning the fairness of these political trials and what outcome could be expected, in view of the reprisal for the ‘male riots’, as they were starting to be called. In a direct answer to these voices, Miss Contreras stated to the press she would ‘never restore the garrote vil for political crimes’. This declaration was supported by Head of State Ángela Jurado and General Milagros Sánchez, and by next Friday the public opinion was calmed down by these promises.

When the first sentences started being handed down, it was a shock for the entire country. True to their promise that the garrote would not be resurrected for political crimes, Ángela Jurado and Pureza Contreras made a televised public announcement that the first cases had been closed and the defendants being found guilty had been sentenced to death by hanging. As Spanish families silently watched, they read the names of those sentenced to die, which included the deposed Prime Minister, the former Public Attorney General, the directors of the Spanish Intelligence and Secret Services, the leaders of the Socialist, Social Democratic, Conservative and Communist Parties, a dozen senators and the Ministers of Economy and Finance and Equality. The sentences would be carried out within days while the rest of the trials were underway. This announcement, given out in a contained unemotional tone, was received by a baffled silent country which could not bring itself to believe it had happened a just a few days.

In the next few days there was a certain public unrest, especially by college students who affiliated themselves with one or other political color, but the population stayed generally calm. The military on the streets discouraged any such reactions.

 

Then the executions began. A hanging chamber had been constructed in the Carcel Modelo of Madrid and the top dignitaries of the new founded regime were summoned to see justice carried out. Ángela Jurado and Pureza Contreras would be there, along with their closer aides. Miss Fernanda Sivori was present too, dressed in her best and stunning as always, to witness the execution firsthand in the quality of mayor of Madrid. The selected witnesses would gather outside the death chamber, smoking and chatting in their best silk and satin dresses and high heeled shoes, resembling a fashion event, until the time came when the assistant hangwomen would unlock the door and let them in. A few chairs were placed alongside the walls, so everyone could see the noose and the trap without interference. The condemned prisoner, having been read the death warrant in his cell, was brought to the hanging chamber under the escort of four guards. Contrasting with the glamour and finesse of the female public, they were dressed in the same clothes they were arrested with or sometimes prison uniforms when the previous were unfit to wear. To their credit, most of them tried their best to die with dignity, although the fear of death often gave place to embarrassing displays. Placed on the trap, strapped, hooded and noosed, they were given the chance of a last statement by Miss Jurado personally just before the drop, statements which were recorded by her personal stenographer. After the drop, they hanged for a full hour, and finally they were buried in unmarked graves in the prison yard. Their next of kin were informed by a closed letter transmitted via a courier. Later that day, a press release would be faxed to the news agencies and a notice of the executions was televised, referring only to the names and time of execution, without giving up any details of the event.

Of the total 523 arrests, 487 were death sentences, 27 were hard labor and 9 were acquitted on basis of collaboration. The gallows chamber was used almost everyday and soon was fitted for multiple drops of about four condemned. Their last statements were recorded in their cells, just before their last walk to the gallows. Though the applicants to be present at these fashionable and exciting events never ran out, Miss Jurado and her closer circle began selecting the most prominent executions and skipped the rest of them. Miss Sivori did just the same, attending only to executions of condemned whose case she was related with or former Madrid municipality staff.

By the end of July, all those sentenced on those first trials had been duly executed. The state had quickly taken newspapers and television networks and a cultural program was being passed through the media, in order to reeducate the population. Values like humility, service and submission were passed to the male public and in turn the female public was showered with concepts like independence, leadership and glamour. At first network directors and newspaper editors started complaining, but after their arrest, trial and televised execution by firing squad no more concerning problems were raised. And the media campaign results was quick to bear fruits.

A mass of lesser politicians and government workers, fearful of following their masters on their way to the noose, assembled in secret meetings and discussed what could be done to counterstrike or sabotage the new regime’s efforts. Though the Female Secret Police was aware that such meetings occurred, they were unable to get word of a location until the end of August. In a lucky strike, police forces were able to apprehend up to 43 such subversive elements in a meeting in Castellón de la Plana. They were all caught alive and after much publicized trials they were sentenced to death and publicly executed. The 7 leaders and instigators were hanged in a gallows raised in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. The remaining 36 of them were taken back to their places of origin, and publicly shot by firing squad to show an example.

 

From that moment on life got slowly back to normal. The people had gone through all these violent transformations but were slowly accepting the new regime mentality as the right one. Those still at work to sabotage or thwart the Female Order’s objectives were unable to organize themselves without raising suspicions. Up until the end of that first year of Female Order rule, many were peacefully handed over to the authorities, denounced by their own wives, girlfriends and fiancées. They would merely call the police to inform of any subversive activity and the authorities would simply drop by their place of work or housing and make the arrest. Sometimes a simple ‘get your coat and come with us’ was enough, they felt defeated by just realizing who had snitched on them. The death cells filled up again.

Soon, the State’s Media Department devised a very popular television show in which the arrested subversives were confronted with their denouncers. The format was very appealing: first the denouncer and the accused were presented to the public, the first dressed at her best and the second brought in chains and prison uniform; then the denouncer, shown as a national hero for making the supreme sacrifice of handing a loved one to the authorities to uphold the Female Order cause, would explain what had happened; the accused was merely questioned by the hostess to confirm the previous story; finally, the denouncer was invited to share a few words with the accused, generally words of disapproval and criticism slightly enveloped by pity and disgust for their intentions. The accused was not given the chance to talk back. Then the show would end with a short statement by the sexy and smartly dressed hostess, revealing which sentence had been proffered and in which location would the execution take place. Everything stopped around the country to watch the show, called ‘Time to Atone’, and its popularity prompted the female public to expose any abuse from the part of men.

School programs were also changed in order to pass the regime’s new messages. Classes were segregated by gender and teachers were generally female, which was already a tendency prior to the revolution. Men were prepared for physical tasks and labor, while being indoctrinated in concepts like respect and modesty, a transformation which would lead later on to a more sensitive and mild behavior from their part. Women, in the other hand, were educated to have key roles and to act as social managers.




Toe Tag