Mace-bearers ask to be excused

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: Alicante City Hall beadles take a stand.

ALICANTE CITY’S official beadles who carry ceremonial maces at official events, asked to be excused from religious processions.

The four beadles maintained that having to participate in religious parades on Good Friday, Corpus Christi and feast days of the city’s patrons, the Virgen del Remedio and San Nicolas infringed their right to religious freedom.

The mace-bearers stressed they were not refusing to take part in solemn civic events organised by city hall, when they don their medieval-style tunics. 

Nor had they any objection to wearing their weekday uniforms when ceremonially manning the doors at city hall on Saturdays for civil weddings, they said, but they drew the line at religious processions. These have nothing to do with their role and undermined its spirit, they claimed.

Last September they conveyed their concerns to the Mayor Gabriel Echavarri and were informed by the Human Resources department, arguing that participating in religious processions did not threaten their religious freedom.

Dissatisfied with this reply the beadles sought precedents in ruling by Spain’s Supreme Court and Constitutional Tribunal. Since these back their claims they have now written once more to the mayor asking him to reconsider the initial decision.

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