Basque guerrillas

Spanish state








During the period of the Franco dictatorship Basque guerrillas killed policemen and soldiers of the Spanish government. Their aims were to restore democracy and the autonomous status of the Basque provinces, which they had had during the period of the Spanish Republic. After Franco's death an autonomous Basque government was set up but the most fanatical of the guerrillas refused to accept that this was the achievement of their aims and continued to fight the new government. Their struggle is analogous to that of the IRA in Northern Ireland. They are believed to be supported by only a small minority of Spanish Basques. They use urban guerrilla methods and kill policemen and other officials of Spain. French Basques seem less militant.

Nevertheless a fanatical group within ETA continue to let off bombs and kill officials. It has become a kind of cult.

In March 2006 the ETA leaders announced a permanent ceasefire, along the lines of the IRA ceasefire in Northern Ireland. They are reported to have had assistance from IRA and Sinn Fein people to help them with the transition to political rather than military activity. Were they influenced by the huge explosions arranged on the Madrid railways by Muslim terrorists? The Spanish prime minister at the time had accused ETA of being responsible - though the scale of the atrocity was far beyond anything they could arrange. Perhaps the two European terrorist groups realised that in the world of Muslim terrorism theirs was very small scale.

In 2006 there are signs of a possible ceasefire with negotiations.

Last revised 19/7/06


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