Spanish police clash with pro-ETA demonstrators

MADRID — Police clashed with several hundred people who tried Saturday to stage a banned demonstration in support of jailed members of the armed Basque separatist group ETA in San Sebastian in northern Spain.

A 64-year-old man was slightly injured in a fall as he tried to get away from the clashes between the demonstrators and police, a local emergency services spokesman said.

Demonstrators threw bottles at police and overturned rubbish bins when police turned up to disperse the crowd brandishing placards bearing photos of ETA prisoners at the central square where the march was to begin.

Riot police wearing red helmets were then called in who fired rubber bullets and hit the demonstrators with their batons, images broadcast on public television TVE showed.

Judge Eloy Velasco forbade the demonstration planned by the organisation of families of ETA prisoners, Etxerat, saying it could be used to justify terrorism.

Several hundred demonstrators clashed with police late Friday in San Sebastian at the site of another pro-ETA protest organised by another group that was banned by leading judge Baltasar Garzon for the same reason.

Etxerat has called for jailed ETA members be moved to prisons in the Basque region so they can more easily receive visits from family members.

ETA members are dispersed in jails throughout Spain, with some held as far away as in prisons in Spain’s Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco.

The authorities have scored a a series of recent successes against ETA, blamed for 828 deaths in its campaign for independence for the Basques of northern Spain and southern France over 41 years.

They are now cracking down on all social and political connections with the armed group, which is branded a terrorist organisation by the European Union, in a bid to deprive it of all support.

Also late Friday, police burst into premises used by the radical left in the city of Bilbao to remove pictures of ETA prisoners.

Earlier this week a court stopped Arnaldo Otegi, head of the banned ETA-linked political party Batasuna, from going to France for his holidays, suspecting him of seeking to raise support for ETA there.

This entry was posted in resistance and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.