Thousands protest against ETA in Spain


Madrid : Thousands of people gathered Saturday in the Spanish city of Bilbao to protest against the Basque separatist group ETA a day after the banned outfit killed a senior police officer, EFE reported.

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Anti-ETA rallies were also organised in difference places of the country to protest against the slaying of police officer Eduardo Antonio Puelles, who headed a unit assigned to fighting ETA in that part of northern Spain.

Several politicians and the morther and two siblings of Puelles attended the rally organised in Arrigorriaga, the northen Spanish town in the Basque region where the attack took place Friday.

One of the siblings, Josu Puelles, said that for the family his father “is a hero and not a victim, and as such he died; he is a gudari nagusia (great soldier in the Basque tongue).”

In Bilbao, Spanish Crown Prince Felipe and his wife, Princess Letizia, presided over the funeral service of the officer, who was killed Friday when a bomb attached to his car exploded.

The new president of the Basque region, Patxi Lopez, and Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega also attened the service.

The government blamed the attack on the ETA militant group, which has been fighting for a separate Basque region for the past 40 years. The group has been attributed for the killings of more than 850 people over the years.

This was the first murder by the terrorist organization since the new autonomous Basque government took office last May headed by Patxi Lopez, whose election interrupted nearly three decades of rule by nationalist governments in the Basque Country.

ETA made public threats against the new regional government after the Basque Socialist Party and the conservative Popular Party (PP) reached an accord to avoid another government controlled by the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV).