Banned ETA group forms new party, rejects violence
The banned political wing of Basque separatist group ETA said Monday it had formed a new party that rejected the use of violence and intended to contest elections.
The new party "rejects and opposes the use of violence... including that of ETA," said Rufi Etxeberria, long-time leader of Batasuna, speaking in Bilbao.
Banned since 2003 because of its links to ETA, whose violent attacks it never condemned, Batasuna is apparently attempting to reinvent itself as a regular political party in order to contest local elections in May.
ETA is blamed for 829 deaths during its more that 40-year separatist campaign for Basque independence. On January 10 the group announced a ceasefire and has not carried out an attack since.
© 2011 AFP