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The BBC's Flora Botsford in Madrid
"Anti-terrorist officers at the scene immediately put the blame on ETA"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 29 August, 2000, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
Basque killing condemned
ETA rally
Police say the killing bore the hallmarks of ETA
Spanish politicians have condemned the latest killing blamed on the Basque separatist group, ETA.

Manuel Indiano Azaustre, a former local councillor from the ruling Popular Party, died after being shot by unidentified gunmen on Tuesday morning in Zumarraga, near the northern Basque port of San Sebastian.

The best way to keep on fighting [ETA] is through confidence in our institutions, in the rule of law, in the strength of all democrats

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar
The shooting brings to 12 the number of people killed in attacks attributed to ETA this year.

Speaking on a visit to Poland, Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar called on Spaniards to back his government's hardline stance against the separatists.

He said it was sad that while Poland was celebrating the 20th anniversary of its fight against tyranny, in Spain people defending democracy, freedom and human rights were being killed.

The scene outside the victim's sweetshop
The scene outside the victim's sweetshop
The opposition Socialist Party has pledged its support for any collaboration necessary to end terrorism.

And the Basque President, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, said ETA needed to understand that the ability to kill did not signify power. He said that every attack left them more isolated.


Police said the 29-year-old Mr Azaustre was shot several times in the head and stomach in the sweetshop that he ran in Zumarraga.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he later died of his wounds.

His partner, who is reported to be pregnant with their first child, was admitted to hospital in shock.

Demonstrations were later held across the Basque region, while five-minute silent vigils are expected to be held at town halls throughout Spain on Wednesday.

Renewed offensive

Five politicians, two soldiers, two Civil Guard police officers, one bodyguard, a journalist and a businessman have been killed in shootings and car bombings since ETA ended its ceasefire last December.

The killing comes a day before talks between Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja and Spanish political parties to discuss the situation in the Basque region.

ETA's offensive appears aimed at forcing the Spanish Government to negotiate on the group's demands for Basque self-determination - a move which has been rejected by Mr Aznar.

The government has agreed to the series of face-to-face meetings but refused to sit down for multi-party talks with the Basque regional government, run by the mainstream Basque Nationalist Party.

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See also:

12 Aug 00 | Europe
Rally for ETA dead
10 Aug 00 | Europe
ETA: Key events
30 Jul 00 | Europe
Sorrow and anger at Spain funeral
18 Jul 00 | Europe
Protests against Basque violence
02 Dec 99 | Europe
ETA's bloody record
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