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Demonstrations mark launch of new Basque political party

Mon 7th Feb 2011

Saturday saw demonstrations in the Basque town of Alsasua, where several hundred Basque separatists held small street rallies, hung posters and painted political graffiti on walls throughout the troubled region. A second and much larger demonstration was held in the capital in opposition to this, and urging the government not to enter into negotitations with the militant Basque separatists.

The demonstations marked the announcement of a new Basque political party being created, yet to be named. This new party have renounced the ETA group who have close ties with the Basque struggle for independence and hope to compete in Spain's regional elections in May as a successor to Batasuna, the political wing of armed separatist group ETA that was banned in 2003.

In past years Spanish courts have refused to recognise and even banned Basque political parties because they will not condem ETA. Under Spanish law all parties must reject violence.

The 2003 law has left supporters of independance who sympathise with ETA without any parliamentary representation. They now hope that by rejecting all violence including that of ETA, they can take part in the local elections in May.

The Ministry of the Interior has yet to decide if the party can be authorized.

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