On the 15th January 1992 shots rang out on the leafy Valencian avenue called Blasco Ibáñez, a street usually full of students due to the large number of faculties there.
The shots were fired by members of the terrorist group ETA and put an end to the life of a well-known University Professor, Manuel Broseta Pont, who was on his way to give classes.
He was born in the village of Bañeres in Alicante on 13th October 1932, although his main studies were carried out in Valencia, at the Luis Vives Secondary School in front of the main railway station, and at the Law Faculty, where he graduated in 1955.
In 1956 he continued his studies in Madrid University, where he also started his teaching career, although during this period he also visited France, Germany, Italy and London, where he spent some time at the London School of Economics.
He specialised in commercial law and worked on the Spanish patents law during the 50s and 60s.
In 1964 he was awarded a professorship at the newly built faculty of Law in Avenid Blasco Ibañez.
During the last years of Franco’s dictatorship he was an active member of the University’s resistance to the dictator and was put on trial (although absolved) for an article published in the press. He was also an active supporter of other lecturers persecuted by the regime.
At one point he even resigned as Dean of the Faculty in protest at the attempts of the Education Ministry to purge the University of 300 teachers who were not to its liking.
In 1979 he joined the centrist party UCD and was a Senator from 1979 to 1982, during which time he was also Secretary of State for the Autonomous Regions of Spain. It was in fact his work on the creation of the statutes of autonomy that made him a target for ETA.
He was particularly instrumental in the writing of the Valencian statute and is considered by many as being largely responsible for the inclusion of the crown in the Valencian flag and the references to the Valencian language being ‘distinct’ from Catalan.
On his return to Valencia in 1982 he continued his law practice and University classes as well as participating on the board of directors of companies such as Banco De Valencia, Dragados Construction and the shipbuilder Unión Naval de Levante, and also as a consultant for the Valencian Stock Exchange. He also found time to found various business journals and published hundreds of press articles and specialist documents on a wide variety of subjects.
Following his assassination, a monument was erected on the spot where he was gunned down and a foundation established under the auspices of the Valencian government to perpetuate his memory and award an annual prize to people who have worked in favour of social harmony.
One of his sons, Pablo, also a lawyer, recently stood as a candidate for the presidency of the AVT (Association of victims of terrorism) without success. His candidacy was an attempt to de-politicise the AVT, which many see as a tool of the Popular Party under its present leadership.
Another son, Manuel, is also a lawyer in Valencia, having also studied at Kings College London and Harvard and Georgetown in the USA.
Today students continue to wander along the leafy avenue, although the law faculty has moved to a newer building further up towards the sea. The Faculty of Commercial law however retains the name of one of its most illustrious members, Manuel Broseta and his monument is almost always garlanded with fresh flowers, a simple poignant memorial to a victim of blind savagery.