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Thursday, 26 October, 2000, 21:23 GMT 22:23 UK
Basque group wins peace prize
Peace demo
Thousands of protestors have been calling for peace
By Flora Botsford in Madrid

A Basque peace group has won a European Parliament prize for human rights and freedom of expression named after the Soviet nuclear physicist and peace campaigner, Andre Sakharov.

It is the first time the prize has been awarded to a person or an organisation from within the European Union.

The Sakharov Prize, which is worth more than $40,000, was awarded this year to Basta Ya!, a name translates as 'That's Enough'.

The group is most active in the northern Basque region of Spain, which is at the centre of ETA's violent campaign for a separate state.

ETA attacks

Basta Ya! came into existence last year as a loose collection of intellectuals, artists, politicians and pacifists whose aim was to defend human rights, democracy, tolerance and freedom of expression in the face of continuing violence and intimidation by the Basque separatist group.

bombed car
ETA violence has killed at least 16 this year
Bomb attacks and shootings blamed on ETA has killed 16 people so far this year.

Targets have included politicians, members of the security forces, the judiciary, prison staff, business leaders and journalists.

Many other people in the Basque country have received death threats or demands for the so-called revolutionary tax which funds the ETA movement.

Basta Ya! regularly holds demonstrations and marches against ETA.

In a statement, the President of the European Parliament, Nicole Fontaine, said the prize had been awarded to Basta Ya! as a mark of solidarity in the fight against terrorism in Spain.

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See also:

15 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
Gusmao awarded Sakharov prize
13 Sep 00 | Europe
Analysis: Tough moves against ETA
12 Aug 00 | Europe
Thousands protest at ETA violence
20 Jul 00 | Europe
Analysis: ETA still poses threat
30 Jul 00 | Europe
Sorrow and anger at Spain funeral
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