Most of Spain’s political parties came out in condemnation of death threats sent to three high-ranking officials on Friday, with the notable exception of the far-right party Vox.
“Your time is running out,” read an anonymous letter sent to Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, which was accompanied by four military bullets. The letter threatened the lives of the leftist leader and his family members.
Spain’s Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska and Maria Gamez, the country’s first female head of the Spanish Civil Guard police force, also received similar death threats.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez condemned the threats on Friday.
But during a debate in the run-up to the Madrid regional elections, when asked to speak out against the violent threats, Vox candidate Rocio Monasterio refused.
“We don’t believe anything coming from the government,” she said.
Iglesias left his position as deputy prime minister of Spain earlier this year to run in Madrid elections and “stop the far-right.”
“You are making a terrible mistake allowing these people to sit here at this debate, defend things that go against democracy and normalize their image,” he told the moderator before abandoning the stage.
The two other left-wing candidates left in solidarity and the debate was cut short.
“Someone sent Iglesias bullets and you’re laughing … I can’t spend a minute more with you,” Mónica García of Mas Madrid told Monasterio.
This is just another moment of tension in the highly polarized Madrid election campaign.
Earlier this month, anti-fascist demonstrators ended up throwing objects at speakers and clashing with police at a Vox rally in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas.
This week, prosecutors also launched an investigation into an arguably racist Vox billboard targeting young male migrants.
Elsewhere, the Podemos headquarters in the city of Cartagena was attacked just three weeks ago. Someone vandalized the building and threw a Molotov cocktail at the window. Police have not found any suspects, but Podemos leaders insist the culprits were Vox followers.
Last December, a group of former military officers were revealed to be praising the former dictator Francisco Franco, sharing fascist salutes and joking on social media about mass murder of left-wing voters.