Policía Nacional establishes ‘Day of Victims of Terrorism’ to honour sacrifices

by Lorraine Williamson
victims of terror

To commemorate the victims of terrorism and express solidarity with their families, the Dirección General de la Policía has officially instituted the “Día de las Víctimas del Terrorismo en la Policía Nacional” (Day of Victims of Terrorism in the National Police).

This annual event is slated for the 16th of June, or around this date. It will honour the memory of those who have fallen victim to terrorism within the ranks of the Policía Nacional.

June 16th

The chosen date, June 16th, holds historical significance. This day in 1981 the terrorist organisation ETA claimed the life of Inspector Chief María José García Sánchez in Zarauz. The solemn occasion will serve as a demonstration of recognition, respect, and solidarity. This will ensure sacrifices made by the victims and their families are perpetuated within the police institution and throughout society.

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The establishment of the “Día de las Víctimas del Terrorismo en la Policía Nacional” marks the third major institutional event annually observed by the Policía Nacional. It joins the celebration of the force’s anniversary on January 13th. And also the festivity honouring their patron saints, the Santos Ángeles Custodios, on October 2nd.

The commemorative events will take place at various locations, including Jefaturas Superiores de Policía, Comisarías Provinciales, police training centres. The authorities will also hold events in other designated police facilities.

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188 lives lost

The Policía Nacional has endured a heavy toll in the fight against terrorism. Between 1968 and 2015, 188 of its members lost their lives. Beyond this staggering number, numerous officers have been injured, and families have been shattered by firsthand experiences with terrorism. The pain, deeply embedded within the institution and the collective memory of society, must continue to be acknowledged and valued.

The primary objective of the commemorative events on the “Día de las Víctimas del Terrorismo en la Policía Nacional” is to express recognition, gratitude, and to preserve and keep alive the memory of the victims of terrorism within the Policía Nacional.

Terrorism victims

Efforts to address the consequences of terrorism have been multifaceted. Initiatives from various quarters aiming to uphold the dignity of victims, provide assistance, and appeal to the solidarity of citizens. Noteworthy examples include the establishment of the “Día Europeo en Recuerdo de las Víctimas del Terrorismo” (European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism) by the European Union on March 11th, following the 2004 Madrid bombings. In Spain, the Law 66/1997 includes provisions for aiding those affected by terrorism. Furthermore, subsequent legislation such as the Ley 29/2011 extends recognition and comprehensive protection for victims of terrorism.

Monuments and exhibitions

The Policía Nacional has taken various measures to honour fallen officers, such as the creation of a monument in June 2014 at the former College of Orphans in Madrid, now the Division of Training and Improvement headquarters. This monument pays tribute to police officers who lost their lives in terrorist attacks, and an eternal flame symbolises their enduring memory.

Additionally, an exhibition titled “La victoria de la libertad: la Policía Nacional contra el terrorismo” (The Victory of Freedom: The National Police Against Terrorism) toured several Spanish cities and the European Parliament in Strasbourg in June 2014, with a digital version accessible on the Policía Nacional website.

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