The murder of a Spanish police officer by suspected ETA gunmen has prompted a rare show of unity among opposing politicians, unions and employers. They have called for a mass anti-terrorist demonstration in Madrid on Tuesday.
The Guardia Civil officer was gunned down in Capbreton in south-western France along with a colleague, who is reported to be brain-dead in hospital. They were in plain-clothes on a surveillance operation with French police when they were shot at point-blank range.
The Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said: “Forty years of dark terrorist history have not been enough for ETA to guage the huge strength of feeling in Spanish society. Hundreds of deaths have not made it clear to them that they will never gain anything through violence.” He went on: “Today,more than ever, terrorists must know that we are all united against them.”
The Prime Minister’s position was backed by the leader of the main opposition conservative party, Mariano Rajoy. He said: “I want to demonstrate my support for all the state security forces, and my support for the government in putting an end to the terrorist organisation ETA.”
The outlawed ETA has been waging an armed campaign for independence for the Basque region of northern Spain and south western France. The immediate full-scale manhunt unleashed for the killers has been scaled down, but the French gendarmerie say they have not given up the search.