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Bombs explode on Spanish roads after ETA warning

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Bombs explode on Spanish roads after ETA warning


Two bombs have exploded in northern Spain on the day separatists called a general strike in the Basque Country. The alarm was raised after a telephone warning made in the name of ETA. The caller said four devices had been planted on roads.

The first went off in Cantabria, between Santander and Bilbao. The second blew up in Navarra. No one was injured. The warning gave locations for the bombs – enabling police to divert traffic away from the areas in question. “An attack on democracy, freedom and citizens’ rights,” is how Spain’s Interior Minister responded to events. “The rule of law will not flinch a single millimetre in the fight against terrorism,” said Jose Antonio Alonso, adding that “ETA’s wish to make its presence felt on this strike day has not been successful.” The call for industrial action, amid a row over the treatment of Basque prisoners, came from Batasuna – a banned party accused of being ETA’s political wing. The strike had minimal following in the region, according to politicians and business leaders. The issue of ETA prisoners is highly sensitive at a time of rumours – denied by Spain’s Socialist government – that secret peace talks with the group are planned or underway. At the weekend, there were violent scenes at a rally that followed the deaths behind bars of two ETA-linked inmates. One committed suicide. The other suffered a heart attack. But activists condemn the conditions in which they were detained. Today’s strike call was a protest at Basque authorities’ ban on people publicly paying tribute to the pair.
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