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Critics slam Samaranch for fascist salute

  |   Aug. 12, 2009 at 10:57 AM
| License Photo
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Juan Antonio Samaranch should resign as life president of the International Olympic Committee because of a 1974 fascist salute, critics say.

A controversy was sparked by the publication this month of a 1974 photo depicting Samaranch giving the fascist salute at a Spanish celebration marking the 38th anniversary of the coup staged by the late dictator General Francisco Franco, The Times of London reported Wednesday.

Since then, critics have called for Samaranch, 89, to resign, claiming his links to the Franco regime are at odds with the "democratic and fraternal ideals of world sport."

Samaranch was appointed Spain's Sports Secretary by Franco in 1967 and later went on to become president of the Spanish National Olympic Committee. He was IOC president between 1980 and 2001 before being made life president, The Times said.

Tony Strubell of the Democracy and Dignity in Sport campaign told the newspaper he has gathered about 1,000 supporters for his anti-Samaranch effort, including U.S. left-wing essayist James Petras and political analyst Howard Zinn.

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