A group of young people shouting, “Where are the priests? We’re going to burn them at the stake,” attacked the Mary Help of Christians Salesian School in Merida, Spain, leaving one teacher wounded.
According to the Salesian Press Office in Spain, the incident occurred at 1:20 p.m. local time on Oct. 18, when “some 100 young people entered the premises of the Mary Help of Christians Salesian School in Merida.” Nearly 1,000 K-12 students attend the school.
“Custodial workers and some teachers at the school tried to stop the group, but 10 of them were able to gain entrance to the school building, shouting insults against the institution, pushing staff members who were in their way and attempting to disrupt the normal school day,” the Salesians said.
Principal Marco Antonio Romero told the newspaper El Mundo that the young people’s intention was to pull down the crucifixes. “More public education and less crucifixes,” they shouted.
The attackers carried flags from the Spanish Civil War, shouted insults at the teachers and professors and tried to steal several laptop computers from classrooms, the newspaper reported.
The red, yellow and dark purple flags were the same ones used by the Republican faction, left-wing radicals and anarchists during Spain’s bloody, anti-clerical conflict that led to the deaths of thousands of priest, seminarians, religious and laypeople between 1936 and 1939.
During the attack on the school, one teacher suffered minor wounds while trying to keep the young people from entering her classroom.
The Salesians said steps will be taken to prevent any kind of such attacks in the future and that they will be filing a lawsuit against the assailants. “This kind of conduct cannot be allowed in a constitutional state.”