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Thursday, 5 October, 2000, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Spanish police arrest Basque suspects
Ignacio Gracia Arregui
ETA's suspected leader was arrested in France
Police in Spain have arrested nine people accused of aiding the Basque separatist guerrilla group, ETA, the second such round-up in a month.

The suspects were detained in pre-dawn raids carried out by more than 100 police officers in the Basque provinces and neighbouring Navarra.


ETA is not only a structure of commandos, but also a political and financial plot

Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja
The authorities said the detainees belonged to an organisation called EKIN.

They were said to be involved in a civil disobedience campaign to refuse identity cards issued by the Spanish authorities and use Basque ones from a notional independent state instead.

Those held included a city councillor in San Sebastian for ETA's political wing, Euskal Herritarrok, called Carlos Trenor Dicente.

Increased violence

Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja said the arrests showed that "ETA is not only a structure of commandos, but also a political and financial plot".

But Euskal Herritarrok said the arrests showed that "there are no democratic freedoms for those who want to build a Basque state".


EKIN describes itself as a co-ordinating body for Basque pro-independence activities.

But it is accused by the Spanish Government of involvement in such activities as raising funds for ETA and planning terror attacks.

A similar police raid last month led to the detention of 20 people whom the Spanish authorities said comprised almost the entire political leadership of ETA.

Two days later, in a co-ordinated operation, police in the neighbouring Basque region of France arrested the suspected leader of ETA, Ignacio Gracia Arregui.

The arrests followed a sharp escalation of ETA attacks in Spain.

ETA is believed to have killed at least 12 people since it broke off a 14-month ceasefire last December.

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See also:

16 Sep 00 | Europe
French detain 'ETA leader'
13 Sep 00 | Europe
Basque arrests hailed a 'victory'
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