POLITICS

Podemos leader, equality minister forced to cut short vacation due to fears for safety

The location of the holiday home in which Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias and his partner, Irene Montero, were staying was made public on social media, reportedly by supporters of far-right Vox

A file photo of Irene Montero and Pablo Iglesias in Congress last year.
A file photo of Irene Montero and Pablo Iglesias in Congress last year.PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

Unidas Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias and his partner, Equality Minister Irene Montero, cut short their vacation in Asturias on Monday “for the safety of their children” after they were subjected to threats and protests in the municipality of Felgueras. Sources close to Iglesias, who is also one of Spain’s deputy prime ministers in the Socialist Party-led coalition government, told news agency EFE that the family opted to return to their home in Madrid after messages appeared on social media revealing the location of their holiday home.

The couple have also been subjected to noisy protests outside their home in the municipality of Galapagar

According to the same sources, graffiti appeared nearby on a road that read: “Ponytail is a rat,” a reference to Iglesias’s long hair. Montero and Iglesias were located in the Valle de Lena in Asturias, in a family home belonging to Enrique Santiago, the general secretary of the Spanish Communist Party and a deputy in Congress for Unidas Podemos.

The couple have also been subjected to noisy protests outside their home in the municipality of Galapagar, located to the northwest of the Spanish capital. Montero has filed a complaint with the local courts against Cristina Gómez, a councilor for the far-right Vox party, for coercion and daily harassment near the property. The couple have three children under the age of three.

On Tuesday, Enrique Santiago lamented the fact that Iglesias and Montero had suffered four months of harassment outside their home and that the “dozens of complaints” that had been filed had been ignored. “There is total impunity,” he said during an interview with Spanish radio network Cadena SER. “The public prosecutor hasn’t done a thing,” he complained.

The Unidas Podemos deputy went on to blame Vox for the “systematic harassment” suffered by the couple, and claimed in his interview that it was supporters of the far-right party -- which is the third biggest force in the Congress of Deputies -- who had made public the location of their vacation home.

Iglesias himself addressed the issue on Tuesday, writing in a message on Twitter: “What the far right and certain media outlets are doing to our family is serious, but we have to put each thing into context. There are people who have paid with their freedom, their lives or with torture for defending their ideas and doing politics. That is not our case.” He went on to thank the police for their professionality and to the people who had offered the couple a place to stay. “Their hatred and threats will not stop our work,” he said.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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