Sunday. 14.04.2024

Thousands of people protested on Saturday for the rights of members of Basque terrorist organization ETA who are currently in prison.

People marched through the northern Spanish city of San Sebastian on Saturday evening, demanding all 600 prisoners be housed closer to home. 

Senior members of the Catalan separatist movement and left-wing Unidas Podemos party lawmakers also joined the demonstration.

The terrorist group 'Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA)', which translates as 'Basque Country and Freedom,' was founded in 1959. It fought for an independent Basque Country for decades, carrying out some 3,000 attacks in which 857 people died and 2,600 were injured.

After ceasing its activity in 2011, ETA announced its self-dissolution in 2018.

On the tenth anniversary of the group's renunciation of violence, polls showed only 21% of people in the region still "unconditionally" support independence.

Self-determination

However, Basque separatist leader Arnaldo Otegi called on the public to join an independence rally on 20 November in Bilbao.

Otegi, who leads the EH Bildu party, said he wanted to show Spain and the international community that the independence movement in the Basque Country was "stronger than ever."

He decried claims that support for secession had fallen to an all-time low.

EH Bildu is the second strongest group in the Basque parliament with 21 of the 75 lawmakers, after the nationalist PNV party, which has 31 lawmakers.

Both seek more self determination for the region.

Thousands protest for ETA prisoners in the Basque Country