Waving their fists in the air and brandishing Basque flags, more than four hundred people took to the streets outside the European parliament in Strasbourg. The protesters shouted their support for Batasuna- the political wing of ETA – now declared an illegal organisation.
A poster displaying photos illustrated their call for the release of what they say are “political prisoners” held in Spanish jails. Singing a nationalist anthem, they called for independence of the Basque region from Spain.
A spokesman for Batasuna applauded the vote by European MPs in favour of Spanish government peace talks with ETA, but he said the resolution did not go far enough. In the same location, there was a diametrically opposite message from a different group of protestors.
Around 50 people, some of them children, raised their voices in support of Spanish unity.
Waving Spanish flags, the demonstrators said they were opposed to dialogue with the Basque terrorist group.
They fear it will lead to the region’s independence and destroy the unity of Spain – which is already divided into 17 autonomous regions and 2 autonomous cities.
“Espana Si. ETA Non,” the protestors cried.