​Spain judge bans demo for ETA prisoners

January 11, 2014 - 7:01:37 am

MADRID: A Spanish judge yesterday banned a mass demonstration planned to support jailed members of armed Basque separatist movement ETA, as the group pushed for concessions from authorities.

The treatment of ETA’s jailed members is one of the most sensitive issues in a standoff between the Spanish and French governments on one side and western Europe’s last major armed secessionist movement on the other.

ETA is blamed for 829 killings in its campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwestern France. In 2011 it declared an “end to armed activity”, but refused to formally disband.

The demonstration planned for Saturday in the Spanish Basque city of Bilbao is an annual event but came this year at a particularly tense time.