The Prime Minister of Spain has pleaded for political unity in the country in the wake of the collapse of the peace process with ETA. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told a special session of parliament that a unified stance is the only way to beat terrorism. “At this particular moment in time, we really need to renew the political consensus in the face of terrorism. That’s what Spanish citizens are asking for, that’s what the government is asking for,” he told deputies.
200 thousand people across Spain took to the streets on Saturday to protest against ETA’s return to violence. But the opposition Popular Party were conspicuous by their absence. Leader Mariano Rajoy maintained his opposition to any dialogue with ETA. He accused Zapatero of a string of errors:
“Negotiations are not possible in a context of threats and blackmail. If you do not fulfil your part of the deal, then bomb attacks are the result. And if no bombs are planted, then that means you have given in.”
The deaths of two Ecuadorean migrants at Madrid’s Barajas airport were the first to be attributed to ETA in more than three years. The government broke off the peace process shortly afterwards. ETA has claimed responsibility for the attack but claims the ceasefire holds as it did not intend to kill anyone. Meanwhile, Spanish prosecutors have asked that two senior members of ETA be sentenced to 136 years in prison. They are accused of planting a car bomb in Madrid in 2001, injuring 20 people.