Relatives ask for ETA inmates to serve time in Basque region

7th January 2012, Comments 0 comments

Thousands of demonstrators marched through Bilbao on Saturday demanding authorities return to the Basque region separatist prisoners currently locked up across Spain.

Officials did not provide an estimate but organisers said about 3,000 relatives of Basque prisoners attended the march, followed by demonstrators waving Basque flags and chanting slogans such as "Basque prisoners to Basque country."

Similar protests take place each year in Bilbao, the capital of the Basque region, but this was the first since the separatist group ETA said in October it had abandoned violence in its 40-year struggle for independence.

The group is blamed for 829 deaths during the decades of bombings and shootings.

"They must bring the prisoners closer, it costs too much to see my son,"

said Begonia, a 60-year-old retired woman whose son is incarcerated in the Canary Islands. She declined to give her last name.

About 700 ETA prisoners are incarcerated across Spain.

© 2012 AFP

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