Rally in Madrid to oppose possible govt talks with ETA | india | Hindustan Times
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Rally in Madrid to oppose possible govt talks with ETA

Thousands of people would rally in Madrid to press the govt not to sign a peace deal with the Basque separatist group.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 17:25 IST

Thousands of people, including relatives of those killed and injured in ETA bomb attacks, are expected to rally Saturday in Madrid to press the Socialist government not to negotiate a peace deal with the armed Basque separatist group.

The demonstration, led by the Association of Victims, has been backed by some 80 social and political groups.

Leaders of the main conservative opposition Popular Party said they would take part in the rally.

The organizers of the demonstration are those who oppose any negotiations with ETA and insist that the group should be dismantled either by police or through legal means.

ETA, whose initials stand for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has killed more than 800 people since beginning its violent campaign for independence in 1968.

The group, however, has not staged a deadly attack since May 2003, when two police officers died in a car bomb.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero this month said Spain was near "the beginning of the end" of ETA.

But the group last week issued a statement that made no mention of a cease-fire.

It reiterated ETA's position that the Basque people have the right to determine their own future, a stance that the government rejects, and it called for dialogue and "commitments" to end the nearly 40-year conflict.