Thousands in Spain celebrate release of pro-independence Basque leader

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- Thousands of Basque separatist sympathizers held a rally in northern Spain on Saturday celebrating the release from prison of a prominent regional leader four days after he completed a more than six-year sentence for trying to resurrect the banned political wing of armed group ETA.

See Full Article

Arnaldo Otegi, who was considered the political leader of the pro-Basque independence movement before his 2009 imprisonment, was greeted by more than 8,000 supporters inside the Anoeta cycling arena in the city of San Sebastian.

"They won't stop us until we've obtained our independence," he told his cheering supporters. A large screen placed outside the building conveyed images of the event to hundreds of supporters who hadn't been able to fit inside.

Otegi had entered the venue to loud music, flanked by traditional regional folkloric dancers.

There had been speculation that Otegi might present himself as a candidate for regional president in local elections later this year, although his sentence bans him from holding office until 2021.

However, he didn't say if he would put himself forward for election.

Batasuna was banned in 2003 on the grounds it was part of ETA, which killed 829 people over its decades-long campaign for Basque independence. The court ruled that Otegi had tried to form a new Batasuna under ETA's orders.

Although ETA announced what it called "a permanent cease-fire" in 2011, it has yet to disarm.

During his trial, Otegi argued that his group had persuaded the pro-ETA Basque separatist community to eschew violence.

While pro-secession sentiment has surged in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region in recent years, it appears to have lost much of its impetus in the Basque region, and many of its supporters are believed to be switching to the new far-left, anti-austerity political group Podemos.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Police charge Red Lake, Ont. man in alleged sex assault from 44 years ago

    Canada News CTV News
    RED LAKE, Ont. -- A 69-year-old man is facing charges in alleged sex assaults believed to have taken place more than 40 years ago. Provincial police say the incidents took place in 1973 and 1974 in Red Lake, Ont. Source
  • Review of devastating New Brunswick ice storm makes 51 recommendations

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- A review of a devastating ice storm in New Brunswick that left two people dead and more than 130,000 people without power says the provincial government should increase funding for emergency services and better educate the public on emergency preparedness. Source
  • New Brunswick man charged with production of child pornography in U.S.

    Canada News CTV News
    A 49-year-old New Brunswick man who allegedly travelled to Ohio to meet a teenage girl is facing a charge of production of child pornography in the United States. Joseph Haggerty of St. Stephen, N.B. Source
  • Turkish leader urges Turks in Germany to vote against Angela Merkel

    World News CBC News
    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said German Chancellor Angela Merkel was an enemy of Turkey and called on Turks in Germany to vote against her and other major parties in next month's elections. The comments are some of Erdogan's harshest yet against Merkel and her Christian Democrats, illustrating the widening divide between the NATO allies and major trade partners. Source
  • Barcelona's victims: A snapshot of the world

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- The dead and injured in Barcelona were a snapshot of the world -- men, women and children from nearly three dozen nations -- testifying to the huge global appeal of the sun-kissed city. Source
  • Canadian eyewitnesses describe terror of Barcelona attack

    Canada News CTV News
    The deadly vehicle attack in Barcelona sent a wave of panic though the busy Las Ramblas promenade where scores of tourists had gathered for a day of leisure in the warm Spanish sun. A white van drove onto the sidewalk and began swerving into the crowd on Thursday afternoon. Source
  • Canada on list of countries with citizens killed or injured in Barcelona

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — Spanish authorities say Canada is among 34 countries with citizens killed or injured in the terrorist attack in Barcelona. Global Affairs says Canadians have been affected by the attacks, but did not provide further details, citing privacy reasons. Source
  • Far-right, anti-racist groups plan duelling protests Sunday in Quebec City

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- An anti-fascist group is organizing a counter-protest against a demonstration in Quebec City on Sunday that is being planned by a far-right group. Montreal Antifasciste says in a statement it's calling on anti-fascist and anti-racist groups to head to the provincial capital to oppose La Meute's demonstration. Source
  • Crown wants 9-year sentence for man convicted of attempting to leave to join ISIS

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The Crown is seeking a nine-year prison sentence for a man convicted of attempting to leave Canada to join the Islamic State. The defence has countered with a recommendation of six-and-a-half years for Ismael Habib. Source
  • Finnish police shoot man after several people were stabbed in Turku

    World News Toronto Sun
    COPENHAGEN — A man stabbed several people in Finland's western city of Turku before police shot him in a leg and detained him Friday, police said, adding that authorities were looking for more potential suspects. Finnish broadcaster YLE says several people were seen lying on the ground in Puutori square in central Turku. Source