BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 7 August, 2002, 00:42 GMT 01:42 UK
Batasuna ban set in motion
Relatives of six-year-old victims attend her funeral
The latest bombing has sparked fresh grief and anger
The Spanish Government has begun formal moves to activate a ban on the political wing of Basque separatist group ETA, made possible by new legislation.

The action came amid a renewed wave of public anger against the ETA, blamed for a car bomb attack on Sunday in which a six-year-old girl and a middle aged man died.

Thousands of Spaniards attended a protest rally at the scene of the attack in the seaside town of Santa Pola.


I am not prepared for us to carry on burying victims while the leaders of Batasuna, who are human trash... are walking freely through the streets

Jose Maria Aznar
The Tuesday evening "protest for peace and freedom" was held at the site in the Costa Blanca resort where the blast ripped through a bus queue and a Civil Guard barracks.

The government confirmed on Tuesday that it had launched the legal process which should result in ETA's political wing, Batasuna, being banned.

The move uses new legislation which recently completed its passage through parliament, allowing parties which support terrorism to be declared illegal.

Crowd holding up anti-ETA leaflets
Thousands attended the Santa Pola protest
An emotional Jose Maria Aznar, the Spanish prime minister, who broke off a holiday to attend the victims' funerals, said he hoped Batasuna would be banned "as soon as possible".

"I am not prepared for us to carry on burying victims while the leaders of Batasuna, who are human trash and as responsible as ETA for these crimes, are walking freely through the streets," he told reporters.

"I am not talking about vengeance, I'm talking about straight, relentless justice."

The new law making it possible to ban political parties is awaiting its first use, and, as expected, Batasuna is now its first target.


These deaths should have and could have been avoided if we all managed to rationalise a conflict that has lasted two centuries

Batasuna spokesman
Aranaldo Otegi

Public prosecutors have been handed a file on the party, and will prepare a case requesting that the Supreme Court impose the ban.

Under the law, the court must rule on whether to ban any party if requested to do so by the government or by a minimum of 50 members of parliament.

Investigating magistrate Balthasar Garzon had earlier joined calls for the law to be activated.

"Not to apply the law would be a fraud. Laws are not written just to be put on a shelf or in the library and then forgotten about," he said.

Batasuna response

Batasuna described the car bomb attack as "painful", but insisted the government was to blame for the situation.

"These deaths should have and could have been avoided if we all managed to rationalise a conflict that has lasted two centuries," said the party's Aranaldo Otegi.

At the protest on Tuesday, a large crowd moved slowly through the streets of Santa Pola shouting "ETA murderers". They carried placards and banners with various texts and drawings - one had the word 'ETA' written next to a swastika. Others simply said 'peace'.

ETA is blamed for killing around 800 people in its long campaign for Basque independence.

Victims remembered

There were emotional scenes on Monday at the joint funeral of the two Santa Pola victims.

The dead girl, Silvia Martinez, was the daughter of a Civil Guard officer. She was playing in her bedroom when the blast sent furniture crashing on top of her.

The man who died, Cecilio Gallego, had been waiting at a nearby bus stop.

About 40 people at the same bus stop were injured.


Key stories

Profiles

TALKING POINT
See also:

05 Aug 02 | Europe
22 Jun 02 | Europe
11 Jul 02 | UK
24 Jul 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes