Last night’s ETA bomb attack in the rich seaside suburb of Getxo near Bilbao, home to entrepreneurs and industrialists, has sent a chill through the Basque country. It is being seen as a warning shot ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between moderate Basque leader Juan José Ibarretxe and Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodruigez Zapatero.
Zapatero is expected to propose a sort of “new deal”, or at least new framework for discussing the Basque country’s future; talks to which all parties, including the banned radical Basque nationalists could be invited. But with the tourism season approaching, and the Spanish press’s belief ETA has been able to rebuild and can now once again rely on a solid infrastucture to support its terrorism, more violence might be on the way.
ETA killed again last Thursday when a bomb exploded outside a Basque police station, and last night in San Sebastian Basques gathered for a two-hour long gala in support of all victims of violence during ETA’s 40-year campaign of terror. Speakers included injured civil guards, families of victims, and Michael Gallagher from Northern Ireland, who lost his son in the Omagh bombing in 1998.
Ibarretxe was a prominent guest, but the opposition Popular Party stayed away, angered by Ibarretxe’s party condemning Madrid on Friday for “systematic defence” of security personnel accused of torture.