Thousands of people across Spain have walked silently through cities to protest against the militant Basque separatist group, ETA. In the northern city of Bilbao, the rally was overshadowed by a political row over which parties could take part and which words should be used in banners.
With some critics against calls for renewed dialogue and an end to ETA violence, the outlawed Batasuna party, ETA’s political wing, stayed away. But the president of the Basque Nationalist party, Josu Jon Imaz, said the demonstration should leave no-one in any doubt of what most Basque people want and that is peace and a definitive end to terrorism.
There were similar scenes in the capital Madrid, which marked two weeks since the ETA bomb killed two Ecuadorians at Barajas airport.
There was more solidarity here over what should be written on banners calling for peace and a greater show of support for the Ecuadorian community – Spain’s largest immigrant population.
The opposition Popular Party did not send any representatives in protest at the government’s response.
But Santiago Morales, head of Ecuadorians in Spain Federation said he has received thousands of emails from PP activists expressing their support.
The December 30th bombing was the first deadly attack by the Basque separatists for three years and effectively ended a nine-month peace process initiated by the socialist government.