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article imageProtests in Spain back Basque separatist supporters

By Justin King     Oct 6, 2013 in World
Bilbao - Police raids against Herrira, an organization that provides support to the families of arrested ETA members, have led to protests in the streets of Bilbao. Thousands of protesters filled the town square to oppose the crackdown.
The ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) is a Basque nationalist movement founded in the 1950s with the aim of creating a Basque homeland in the region between Spain and France. Since the organization began paramilitary activities in 1968, more than 800 people have been killed, with thousands more wounded. However, in 2011 ETA declared a permanent ceasefire and committed to a peace process.
Those protesting the crackdown on Herrira say that the government is trying to criminalize advocating for the rights of political prisoners. The arrests caused outrage within the Basque community. The President of the regional government, Inigo Urkullu, referred to the incident as a “new obstacle” in the peace process.
Those arrested in the raids on September 30th have since been released, but the protesters continue to call for ETA prisoners to be moved to prisons in the Basque region of Spain. The Spanish government has a long history of keeping the militants separated in different prisons throughout the country to make it more difficult for them to communicate.
During the raids, the Spanish government also closed websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts of the organization.
The raids and protests come in the midst of a reorganization of the Irish Republican Army, a long time ETA ally, and many fear renewed violence.
More about ETA, irish republican army, Protest, Spain
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