Thousands of supporters of Basque independence held a rally in the northern Spanish city of San Sebastian on Saturday to celebrate the release of Arnaldo Otegi, considered to the be the leader of the independence movement.
Otegi served over six years for attempting to revive the banned political wing of the militant Basque separatist group ETA, and it was clear from his speech that he intends to carry on fighting for independence:
“In my humble opinion we need to reflect on what has happened to us. Because one thing prison gives you is a lot of time to think, to think about how to fight the enemy better, and that’s the bit they don’t know about. If, after eighteen months in jail the first time, we gave birth to a new strategy, then let them get ready for what we’ve come up with after six -and-half-years.”
The group Otegi was convicted of trying to revive was Batasuna. It was banned in Spain in 2003 on the grounds that it was part of ETA, who have killed over eight hundred people in their long fight for Basque independence.
ETA announced a ceasefire in 2011, which it said would be permanent, but the group has yet to disarm. .