Joaquín Requena: Two young people arrested for the fire in the house of the mayor of Navas de San Juan | Spain

The Civil Guard detained two young residents of Navas de San Juan (Jaén, 4,500 inhabitants) as alleged perpetrators of the attack suffered by their mayor early Sunday morning. The two arrested, whose identity has not been revealed, have been taken to give testimony. The Socialist councilor, Joaquín Requena, 55, saved his life by taking refuge on the terrace of his house after a container with flammable material went out on fire at the door of his home and the smoke spread rapidly through his building and even by adjoining houses.

“They have not intimidated me, fear is not in my dictionary,” said the mayor this Monday, before the arrests were known, next to the door of his house, where he received the support and solidarity of several neighbors. The façade of his building, completely blackened, is the best portrait of the event that startled the residents of Nueva Street and that could have ended in tragedy. The Civil Guard brought forward the morning of this Monday that the investigation was well advanced and that in the next few hours the first arrests could take place, as has finally happened, derived from the testimony of several witnesses who saw the alleged perpetrators loitering in the area.

Requena, who is currently in his third term, says he is “convinced” that behind this action are “radical groups of the extreme right guided by political motives.” A group, he maintains, would be the same group that destroyed his vehicle last September and made insulting graffiti against him.

Among the reasons for the alleged animosity of the attackers towards the mayor, sources of the investigation point to the order to close a pub last week, which Requena had decreed. “I am convinced that they are the same group, of five or six people, who in the last year have tried to harm me because I am a socialist mayor; That’s where it all started, ”adds the Jaen councilor, who says he observes links between the alleged aggressors with a far-right political group. The two opposition groups in the City Council, PP and Izquierda Unida, condemned the attack on Sunday, censorship that leaders and mayors of most political forces and the President of the Government himself, Pedro Sánchez, have also made explicit.

Requena slept alone on the first floor of his home (that night, his wife and 20-year-old son were not at home) when, around four in the morning from Saturday to Sunday, he was awakened by the noises of the neighbors . “When I went downstairs the door was already burning, and I only had time to remove the curtains and furniture so that they did not burn and go to the terrace because the house was already flooded with smoke, there I took refuge,” says the mayor, still in awe for what happened. He points out that the fact of being alone that night made him act with “cold blood”, although without fear. “We are already hardened, we are a very tough family,” he stresses. He points out that one of his great-grandfather was already mayor of Navas de San Juan and suffered the attacks of the dictatorship, and another of his uncle suffered threats from ETA in Getxo (Bizkaia).

In the house next to that of the mayor lives a married couple who were scared after the container caught fire and affected its facade, in addition to the cars parked on the sidewalk, none of which were the mayor’s property. One of the vehicles, the one that has been completely burned, was electric and that prevented its explosion, which would have amplified the damage on this narrow street in the upper part of town. Instead, the researchers confirm that the garbage container had flammable material inside.

The mayor has not stopped receiving messages of encouragement from his neighbors. On the same Sunday afternoon many of them gathered before the City Council to show their rejection of the attack, and for this Tuesday the Diputación de Jaén has called a protest act in the same street where Requena lives, which will also be attended by the subdelegate of the Government in Jaén, Catalina Madueño. “This is an injustice, there is no right to do this to Joaquín, he is a good person,” said Francisca Medina, 74, a street neighbor. “The guilty must pay for what they have done,” added Melchora Pérez, another neighbor.

Mayors of different political parties have shown on social networks their support for the councilor of Navas de San Juan in the face of what they understand to be an attack on municipalism. “The mayors, mayors, councilors and councilors work in their respective municipalities with the sole intention of improving the lives of their neighbors, so it is inadmissible that these types of acts are carried out against people who carry out a public activity for the benefit of others. . It is necessary to combat, with the union of all the democrats, the drift of a radical and violent minority, who live on hatred and confrontation, this type of disgusting aggression has no place in Spanish democracy ”, denounced Fernando Rodríguez Villalobos, president of the Andalusian Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FAMP).

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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