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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 March 2007, 22:01 GMT
Madrid rally over ETA man release
Anti-Eta march
Tens of thousands took to the streets to protest against de Juana's release
Tens of thousands of demonstrators have rallied in the Spanish capital, Madrid, to protest against the release of a jailed Basque separatist.

Spain's socialist government decided that Jose Ignacio de Juana Chaos should be transferred to house arrest after staging a hunger strike.

De Juana Chaos had been serving 20 years in prison for 25 murders.

Spain's centre-right opposition Popular Party (PP) accuses the government of surrendering to terrorism.

This latest demonstration comes after thousands joined related protests in dozens of towns across Spain on Friday night.

Thousands attended Saturday's protest organised by the PP, waving Spanish flags and parading big banners saying "Spain for Liberty".

But many others attending the protest were frustrated with how the country's two main political parties continue to bicker over how to deal with Eta militancy, reports the BBC's Danny Wood in Madrid.

They would like their parties to be united in the face of what they see as one of their country's gravest problems, he adds.

Additional sentence

Last year, on the verge of release, de Juana was sentenced to another 12 years for writing threatening newspaper articles. He went on hunger strike in protest.

De Juana ended his strike earlier this month after being moved from Madrid to a hospital in the Basque country.

He is to be kept under house arrest for the two years remaining on his sentence.

He was force-fed in the latter stages of a hunger strike he began 114 days ago in protest at his sentence.

He was jailed in 1987. The Spanish government has halted talks with Eta.

Eta has been waging a violent campaign for Basque independence and has been blamed for more than 800 deaths since 1968.

Demonstrators take to the streets in Madrid

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