March in north Spain backs return of ETA prisoners

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Associated Press

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Updated Sunday, Jan 12 at 1:04 PM

MADRID (AP) — Tens of thousands of people marched in the northern city of Bilbao calling for prisoners from armed Basque separatist group ETA to serve out their sentences in their native region rather than in jails in other parts of Spain.

Around 100,000 people marched after a National Court judge gave permission for the demonstration to take place late Saturday.

Organizers had called for the march to be silent but participants chanted prisoners' names loudly. Police said Sunday the march was peaceful.

ETA has killed 829 people since the late 1960s in bombings and shootings to force the creation of a Basque homeland in northern Spain and southwest France.

ETA announced a definitive cease-fire in 2011, but hasn't handed over its weapons.

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