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Basques protest Spanish baker killing

BAYONNE, France, March 14 (AFP) – Some 100 Basque separatists rallied Sunday in the southwestern French town of Bayonne to protest the killing of a Spanish baker over his refusal to post a sign honouring victims of the Madrid attacks.

The demonstrators marched under tight police scrutiny outside the Spanish consulate in Bayonne, answering the protest call of Batasuna, a political party that has ties to the armed Basque separatist group ETA and is banned in Spain.

The baker, who ran a shop in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona, was fatally shot on Saturday by an off-duty policeman after he refused to hang a black ribbon in memory of the 200 people killed in Madrid, officers said.

“Angel, we will not forget you,” read a banner unfurled by the demonstrators. “PP and police, assassins,” it also said, referring to the ruling conservative Popular Party (PP), up for re-election on Sunday.

Protesters, who carried Basque flags, peacefully dispersed after a speech from Batasuna’s leader in France, Xabi Larralde, who is a municipal councillor in Bayonne.

On Thursday, 10 bombs ripped apart four commuter trains in Madrid, killing 200 people and wounding 1,500 others.

A man purporting to be a spokesman for the Al-Qaeda network has claimed responsibility for the devastating attacks. The Spanish government initially laid the blame for the bombings on ETA.


                                                              Subject: France news