Date: Mon, 1 Dec 97 10:12:51 CST
Basque Separatists In Spain End ‘Prison Campaign’
From Arm the Spirit, 1 December 1997
Bilbao, Spain (Nando.net - November 20, 1997) The Basque guerrilla group ETA announced Thursday it had suspended all actions which it had planned to carry out on behalf of comrades in Spanish jails.
Though ETA's announcement fell far short of a cease-fire, it was the first sign of a softening in the group's stance since they killed Basque town councilor Miguel Angel Blanco in July. Blanco's kidnapping and assassination brought an estimated 6 million Spaniards out on the street to protest against ETA.
In a communique published in the radical Basque newspaper Egin, ETA said it was halting its so-called "prison campaign", which has included hunger strikes and other forms of protest behind bars.
The separatist group did not specify which actions it was stopping. But leading Basque politicians said it was a signal the guerrillas would cease attacks on prison officials who have been frequent targets of ETA.
The statement declared "the total suspension of all planned actions on the prison front."
It was the first conciliatory gesture by ETA since declaring a one-week truce after the center-right Popular Party won last year's general election.
But Spanish Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja, the chief architect of the government's anti-terrorism policy, dismissed the gesture by saying nothing short of a cease-fire was acceptable.