Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August 2014, 14:59 GMT

Chronology for Basques in Spain

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Basques in Spain, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38dec.html [accessed 20 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Jan 8, 1990 Spain asserts that there is no evidence that the IRA is helping the ETA.
Feb 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA, including one against Spain's top antiterrorist judge.
Feb 2, 1990 The Spanish government pardons seven jailed Basque separatists, resuming a long-interrupted policy of granting amnesty to extremists who give up the armed struggle.
Feb 16, 1990 A Spanish businessman captured by the ETA last November is released.
Feb 23, 1990 The Spanish government tells the ETA that if it stops its violence it can expect generous treatment. Offers such as this one are made from time to time by the Spanish government. This is consistent with Spain's policy of refusing to negotiate with the ETA unless it unconditionally renounces violence.
Mar 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA, including a mail bomb sent to the Spanish interior minister. Also, suspected ETA gunmen shoot a prison worker.
Mar 13, 1990 The ETA announces that all interior and justice ministries are military targets.
Mar 29, 1990 Spain's top court rules that four Basque pro-separatist parliament delegates cannot take their seats until they swear an oath to the Constitution.
Apr 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. The ETA also kills a Spanish civil guard, kills two suspected drug dealers and attacks a civil guard barracks.
May 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
May 26, 1990 Getera Pro-Amnistia, a Basque separatist activist group, stages a protest in Pamplona over the death of a jailed guerilla hunger striker. Police disperse the 100 protesters.
Jun 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also kill an ex-policeman, a suspected drug dealer and a civil guardsman.
Jun 21, 1990 Spain's constitutional court rules that four Basque separatists can take their seats in parliament.
Jul 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also bomb a Spanish bank in Amsterdam.
Jul 25, 1990 Police find a 140 kg (308 lb) cache of explosives near the French border following the arrest of two Basque separatists.
Aug 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA including several that disrupt Spain's railway system.
Aug 3, 1990 ETA bombs explode at a French bank and a French owned car showroom. ETA guerillas have often attacked French interests in protest against France's cooperation with Spanish police.
Sep 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which a civil guard is killed.
Sep 18, 1990 Spanish police kill a Basque separatist guerilla and capture another in Pamplona.
Sep 23, 1990 French police arrest Jose Javier Zabaleta Elosegui, alias "Waldo," a suspected ETA leader.
Oct 2, 1990 Three Basque separatists are expelled from parliament after refusing to follow traditional wording in swearing an oath of allegiance to the constitution.
Oct 12, 1990 ETA leaders say that they are in contact with the Spanish government and will lay down their arms if peace talks begin. The government denies any contacts with the ETA since the peace talks in Algeria foundered last year.
Oct 24, 1990 At a pre-election rally, Herri Batusuna (HB), a traditional Basque nationalist party, the crowd chants "long live the ETA military."
Oct 28, 1990 In Basque regional elections, the PNV wins a plurality of 22 out of 75 seats in the autonomous Basque parliament. This gain of five seats by the PNV results in a continuation of a moderate led government in the region's autonomous parliament.
Nov 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which 4 policemen are killed.
Nov 19 - 20, 1990 After four ETA members are detained, another 30 with suspected ETA ties are arrested.
Dec 1990 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA including one that kills eight people. They also shoot an informer and kill a policeman.
Dec 29, 1990 Thirteen thousand Basques march on a maximum security prison in central Spain demanding amnesty for jailed separatist guerillas.
Jan 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which two people die. They also kill an army colonel and a civil guardsman.
Jan 22, 1991 After 3 months of negotiations, the PNV forms a government in the Basque autonomous region with two other Basque nationalist parties, Eusko Alkartsuna (EA) and Euskadiko Ezkerrs (EE).
Feb 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
Mar 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also kill a civil guardsman and a suspected drug dealer and botch a kidnapping attempt.
Mar 20, 1991 France charges Jesus Arcauz Arana, a suspected ETA leader, with terrorist offences.
Apr 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which a policeman, a 17-year-old girl and three others are killed.
May 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA with one bomb killing nine people including three children and another killing two civil guardsmen.
May 13, 1991 Basque police uncover a separatist arms cache including 150 kg. (330 lbs.) of explosives.
May 30, 1991 2 Basque guerillas are killed and five are arrested when police swoop on a group blamed for a car-bomb which killed nine people.
May 31, 1991 The northern town of Vic stages a five-minute protest against the killing of nine in a Basque separatist car-bomb.
Jun 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which two policemen, a civil guard, and another person are killed. They also bomb some Spanish targets in Italy.
Jun 3, 1991 Spain's attorney general begins proceedings against two Basque politicians who accuse the police of killing two separatist guerillas in revenge for last week's bombing attack.
Jul 1991 Three policemen and a civil guardsman are killed by the ETA.
Jul 6, 1991 The ETA issues a warning that tourists visiting Spain could be in danger.
Jul 10, 1991 The ETA warns that Spanish judges, lawyers and journalists are targets for guerilla violence.
Aug 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA including some that disrupt Spain's railway service. They also kill a suspected drug dealer.
Aug 17, 1991 Police kill three suspected guerillas and arrest ten.
Aug 18, 1991 Hundreds of Basque nationalist demonstrators erect barricades and burn vehicles in protest against the deaths of three guerilla suspects in a shootout with police.
Aug 26, 1991 Dozens are injured when young Basque separatists fight police during a fiesta in Bilbao.
Aug 30, 1991 Police kill a suspected Basque guerilla and arrest seven.
Sep 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which three are killed. They also kill a policeman during a shootout.
Sep 16, 1991 The PNV expels the EA from its ruling coalition due to increasingly strident demands for independence by that party.
Sep 27, 1991 The Basque branch of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSE) joins the PNV's ruling coalition of the Basque autonomous parliament.
Oct 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which a soldier is killed. They also kill two civil guards and a suspected ETA bomber accidentally blows himself up.
Oct 7, 1991 Spanish police arrest two suspected ETA guerillas thought to be responsible for a summer bombing campaign against Spain's railways.
Nov 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which the baby of a civil guard is killed. They also shoot dead a civil guardsman.
Dec 1991 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also kill two policemen.
Dec 12, 1991 Fifteen are arrested in a roundup of suspected ETA members.
Jan 1992 ETA gunmen kill a Spanish air force commander, a policeman and a former government minister.
Jan 29 - Feb 3, 1992 Policemen arrest 23 suspected ETA members, including five suspected of collecting "revolutionary taxes" from businessmen, and uncover an arms cache.
Feb 1, 1992 Nearly 250,000 Spaniards hold a silent rally in Bilbao to demand an end to violence by the ETA.
Feb 1992 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA one of which kills four soldiers and a civilian. In other bomb attacks three civilians, a policeman and a civil guard are killed.
Feb 21, 1992 A French lawyer accuses Spanish prison authorities of trying to have suspected guerillas killed by fellow inmates.
Mar 1992 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which an army colonel's son and two others are killed.
Mar 11, 1992 Members of a Basque youth organization set a bus ablaze in protest against jail conditions of ETA prisoners.
Mar 22, 1992 Spanish police arrest four suspected ETA bombers.
Mar 29, 1992 French police arrest Francisco Mugica Garmendia who is believed to be the top military chief of the ETA.
Apr 1992 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which a retired army colonel is killed. They also shoot dead a policeman.
Apr 10, 1992 France extradites to Spain suspected ETA leader Juan Lorenzo Lasa Michelana.
Apr 23, 1992 The European Court on Human Rights rules that a Basque who wrote an article about killings and attacks on Basques 13 years ago was wrongly convicted for insulting the government.
May 1992 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also shoot dead a border guard. Spanish police detain several suspected ETA guerillas and discover an arms cache.
Jun 1 - Jul 31, 1992 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
Jul 10, 1992 The ETA proposes a two month truce timed to coincide with the summer Olympics in Barcelona if the government agrees to political talks in an agreed upon neutral country. The Spanish government rejects the offer and sticks to its policy of demanding the unconditional cessation of hostilities as a prerequisite for talks.
Aug 1992 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also kill a policeman and two civil guardsmen.
Aug 21, 1992 Police clash with hooded youths in the Basque town of Bilbao who are protesting against the raising of the Spanish flag on the town's annual holiday.
Sep 1992 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which a colonel is killed. They also shoot dead an off duty policeman and a civilian.
Oct 1992 A suspected ETA bomber dies while planting a bomb.
Oct 18, 1992 Thousands march for independence in Bilbao.
Oct 21, 1992 France extradites suspected ETA leader Isidro Bedialaneta to Spain.
Nov 1992 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which 1 person is killed.
Dec 1992 Two policemen and a law professor are shot dead by ETA gunmen.
Dec 27, 1992 Eleven thousand people protest against ETA violence in Vitoria.
Jan 1993 The ETA shoots dead a prison official and a local businessman.
Feb 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. Also, a suspected ETA terrorist blows himself up.
Feb 1993 Police arrest four ETA members and arrest two lawyers for collaboration with the ETA.
Mar 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also kill a civil guardsman.
Apr 1 - May 31, 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
Jun 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA one of which killed seven people including five soldiers. They also kill a suspected drug dealer.
Jun 23, 1993 Workers across Madrid protest against ETA bombings.
Jul 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also kidnap a Basque industrialist.
Jul 14, 1993 Two Spanish policemen are arrested as ETA spies.
Aug 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
Aug 7, 1993 Police break up an ETA extortion ring which has been blackmailing businesses in the Basque region.
Aug 15, 1993 Radical Basque youths clash with angry citizens in the Basque resort of San Sabastian. Most of the 24 arrested are connected to the HB.
Aug 20, 1993 One hundred thousand Catalans wear blue ribbons in protest against a spate of bombings by Basque separatists.
Sep 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which a man is killed.
Sep 10, 1993 A Basque group which inspired a massive peace movement against separatist violence wins the prince of Austria's peace prize.
Sep 23 - 26, 1993 Spain's interior ministry launches an investigation after two Basque separatist guerillas die in police custody.
Sep 25, 1993 Demonstrators clash with police after a suspected ETA member dies in custody.
Oct 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also shoot dead an air force officer.
Oct 26 - 28, 1993 Police arrest 17 suspected ETA members and seize 140 kg. (310 lbs.) of explosives.
Oct 30, 1993 The ETA releases businessman Julio Iglasias Zamora after 117 days of captivity and massive protests against the kidnapping. His family reportedly paid 300 million pesetas (2.3 million dollars) in ransom.
Nov 1993 ETA gunmen kill a policeman.
Nov 15, 1993 Reuters reports that popular resistance to ETA violence is growing in Basque country.
Nov 21, 1993 Jailed ETA leader Jose Alvarez Santacristina publicly renounces violence and calls for an end to the ETA's struggle.
Dec 1993 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
Jan 1994 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
Feb 1994 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also kill an army colonel.
Feb 10, 1994 Four youths are arrested for suspected links to the ETA.
Mar 1994 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which one person is killed.
Mar 16, 1994 Police arrest 16 for suspected links to the ETA.
Apr 1994 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which a civil guard and another person are killed. They also shoot dead a civil guardsman.
Apr 23, 1994 The Catalan government hands out 300,000 ribbons to protest a grenade attack by the ETA last week.
Apr 28, 1994 A suspected ETA leader is arrested.
May 1994 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA in which an army officer is killed.
May 21, 1994 It becomes known that the ETA sent threatening letters to over 100 businessmen in Madrid demanding money.
Jun 1994 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA, one of which resulted in the deaths of an army general, his driver and a civilian. They also shoot dead another army general and a suspected police informer. Two are arrested for suspected ETA links and police find several arms caches.
Jun 3, 1994 France extradites to Spain suspected ETA leader Jose Domingo Aizpurva.
Aug 1994 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also shoot dead a policeman and a suspected drug trafficker.
Aug 10, 1994 Spain's high court rules that convicted ETA guerillas must pay compensation to the victims of their attacks.
Aug 15, 1994 Radical Basque nationalist youths clash with police in San Sebastian.
Aug 24, 1994 A journalist with the radical Basque newspaper Egin is jailed for suspected links to the ETA.
Aug 29, 1994 A group of ETA prisoners announce that they will begin a hunger strike in protest against the government's policy of reintegrating repentant guerillas into society.
Sep 1994 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
Sep 9, 1994 Two Basque political parties announce their plans to visit northern Ireland in wake of this month's cease fire there.
Sep 16, 1994 French police arrest six suspected ETA members in a bomb factory in which they eventually find 200 million pesetas (1.6 million dollars).
Sep 28, 1994 Radical Basque nationalist youths riot on the 11th anniversary of the execution of two Basque separatists.
Oct 23, 1994 In Basque regional elections, the PNV wins 22 out of 75 seats in the autonomous Basque parliament.
Oct 26, 1994 Four suspected ETA members are arrested.
Nov 18, 1994 A suspected ETA member is killed in a shootout with police.
Nov 20, 1994 Police find an arms cache with 150 kg. (330 lbs.) of explosives.
Nov 23, 1994 The ETA declares war on the Basque autonomous police force for its role in fighting guerilla violence.
Dec 1994 A Basque policeman is shot dead by suspected ETA gunmen.
Dec 19, 1994 Ten suspected ETA members are arrested and weapons and explosives are seized.
Dec 26, 1994 The PNV joins the Basque Socialist Party and ETA to form a ruling coalition in the Basque autonomous parliament.
Jan 1995 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA. They also kill a policeman and a Basque opposition politician.
Jan 24, 1995 Thousands of Basques protest the killing of a Basque opposition politician by ETA gunmen.
Jan 29, 1995 About 150,000 Basques protest against ETA violence.
Feb 1 - Mar 31, 1995 There are several bomb attacks this month by the ETA.
Feb 2, 1995 Julen Madariaga, a founding member of the ETA, quits the HB because it does not condemn the ETA killing of an opposition politician.
Feb 22, 1995 Five suspected ETA members are arrested.
Apr 1995 The ETA claimed responsibility for five separate attacks, including the shooting of an army officer on the 10th, a policeman on the 19th, and a bombing which almost killed Jose Maria Aznar, head of Spain's opposition conservative Popular Party, and six others as it detonated next to Aznar's car on the 19th. (Agence France Presse 4/26/95 and Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/19/95)
Apr 11, 1995 Gesture for Peace, a group opposed to ETA violence, held a demonstration to protest the death of Mariano de Juan Santamaria, a member of the army shot in the head in front of his house in San Sebastian. Flags in San Sabastian were flown at half-mast. The parliament held a minute of silence, during which the members of the Herri Batasuna coalition, which has close ties to the ETA, stepped out of the chamber. (Inter Press Service 4/11/95)
May 3, 1995 A Spanish judge charged a former chief of the Civil Guard with embezzlement of public funds in relation to charges that he transferred Interior Ministry funds to two members of the Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups (GAL). (Agence France Presse 5/3/95)
May 8, 1995 Basque separatists kidnapped Jose Maria Aldaya Etxeburua, the Spanish head of a transport business. His name had appeared on a list of potential targets the police had found. This was the first Basque kidnapping in almost two years. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 5/9/95)
Jun 19, 1995 A car bomb planted in downtown Madrid killed one police officer and injured three others. An anonymous caller from the ETA had warned police of the bomb. (Agence France Presse and Deutsche Presse-Agentur 6/19/95)
Jul 9, 1995 The ETA claimed three separate bombs went off in the Spanish Catalan region, but no one was reported injured. (Agence France Presse 9/7/95)
Aug 4, 1995 The Basque government protested the promotion of a member of the Civil Guard stationed in San Sebastian, who was believed to have been responsible for some of the GAL activities in the 1980's. (Agence France Presse 8/4/95)
Aug 8, 1995 10,000 people, organized by several Basque pacifist organizations, demonstrated for the release of Jose Maria Aldaya, who was kidnapped by the ETA May 8. (See update for 5/9/95). (Agence France Presse 8/8/95)
Aug 10, 1995 Police arrested 3 ETA terrorists who planned to kill Spain's King Juan Carlos. The three had rented a vacation cottage near the King's Marivent palace, and planned to use a rifle with a telescopic sight to shoot the king on his yacht in Palma de Mallorca. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/10/95)
Aug 17, 1995 A car bomb detonated at 4:10 AM outside a Civil Guard barracks, lightly injuring 40 individuals. Police suspected the ETA. (Agence France Presse 8/17/95)
Aug 31, 1995 The Spanish Supreme Court began informal hearings into the relationship between Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez and other officials of the Socialist Party on the one hand and the Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups (GAL) blamed for the deaths of at least 22 Basque separatists in the 1980's on the other. (Agence France Presse 9/4/95)
Sep 27, 1995 Fifty young supporters of Basque separatism overturned a police car, threw Molotov cocktails at the branches of the Banco Central Hispano and the Banco de Santander and set fire to a Spanish-owned insurance office several hours before the celebrations for "Gudari Eguna" (Basque Soldier's Day). (Agence France Presse 9/27/95)
Nov 10, 1995 A car bomb in the city of Salmanca seriously injured a Spanish army officer. The Minister of Defense blamed the ETA, noting that the group was facing increasing difficulties mounting attacks in the Basque region or Madrid since several ETA cells in those areas broke up. (Agence France Presse 11/10/95)
Dec 11, 1995 A bomb detonated four days before an EU summit in Madrid killed six and injured 20. Many of the dead and injured were member of the Spanish navy. Police suspected the ETA "Commando Madrid" in the attack. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/11/95)
Dec 13, 1995 20,000 demonstrators in Madrid protested ETA violence. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/13/95)
Dec 16, 1995 A total of three bombs went off in a Valencia department store, killing one woman, injuring eight others, and creating a panic as people in the store tried to flee. An anonymous tip from the ETA had warned of the bombs, but had not specified which of the five Corte Ingles stores in Valencia would be targeted. Police deactivated two more bombs in the store. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/16/95)
Dec 22, 1995 A car bomb in Leon in Northern Spain killed a Spanish army major and seriously injured his wife and daughter. Police blamed the ETA. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/22/95)
Dec 23, 1995 In San Sebastian, 20,000 people demanded the release of a businessman, Jose Maria Aldaya, who was kidnapped in May. Local political leaders attended the rally, while in Leon, more than 15,000 people mourned for an army major killed by a car bomb a day earlier. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/23/95)
Dec 26, 1995 Spanish police dismantled an ETA Basque terrorist unit, arresting three suspected terrorists in Vitoria and seizing 150 kilograms of explosives. According to police, the active unit had been planning a series of bomb blasts. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/26/95)
Dec 30, 1995 Hundreds of youths battled police and torched cars overnight in Vitoria following the arrest of three presumed Basque terrorists. Violence broke out after some 500 people demonstrated in support of the presumed terrorists of Basque separatist group ETA, jailed Friday in Madrid. (Agence France Presse 12/30/95)
Dec 31, 1995 Two people were injured as police intervened to break up a rally of around 40,000 Basque supporters demonstrating to have separatist ETA prisoners grouped together. The incidents erupted as demonstrators began spraying slogans onto the walls of a police building. (Agence France Presse 12/31/95)
Jan 1, 1996 Members of Jarrai, the youth branch of the separatist party Herri Batasuna, the political wing of the ETA, protested against the dismantling last week of an ETA commando by hurling incendiary devices at the local office of the ruling Socialist party and at a bank in the Basque town of Hernani. (Agence France Presse 1/1/96)
Jan 4, 1996 A newspaper reported that the ETA and the Spanish government had planned to start negotiations in December, until the ETA began a new campaign of violence. The ETA had planned to ask for a governmental response to its statement that it would not impose independence on the Basque region, but would look instead to a referendum on the question. The Spanish government denied that any negotiations had ever been planned. (Agence France Presse 1/4/96)
Jan 14, 1996 ETA separatists published an official offer of peace to Prime Minister Filipe Gonzalez in EGIN, a Basque nationalist newspaper. The Prime Minister later responded that he would not enter into negotiations until the ETA put down their weapons. (Agence France Presse 1/14/96 and 1/16/96)
Jan 19, 1996 The ETA kidnapped a prison official during a protest against the 500 members of the ETA held in prisons across Spain. (Agence France Presse 2/24/96)
Jan 24, 1996 Former interior minister Jose Barrionuevo was formally indicted for "illegal custody, misuse of public funds and relations with an armed gang" in the so-called GAL affair. The Prime Minister later expressed his surprise that the proceedings would go on during an election campaign, sparking considerable outcry. (Agence France Presse 1/29/96)
Feb 6, 1996 Fernando Mugica, brother of former minister Enrique Mugica, a close personal friend of Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, and Socialist candidate for a Basque province in March elections, was shot in the head by an unknown assailant, believed to be a Basque separatist. (Agence France Presse 2/6/96)
Feb 14, 1996 Former Spanish constitutional court head Francisco Tomas y Valiente was assassinated in Madrid by a suspected Basque terrorist. He was an outspoken supporter of Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzales' Socialist Party. A car bomb detonated later, which police believed was an attempt to destroy evidence of the crime. The ETA claimed the attack a month later. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/14/96 and Agence France Presse 3/19/96)
Feb 17, 1996 An anonymous caller to the newspaper EGIN warned that four ETA bombs would go off Logrono, a provincial capital. Nobody was hurt in the attack. (Agence France Presse 2/17/96)
Feb 19, 1996 Nearly one million people joined a Madrid protest against ETA terrorist violence. Politicians from all major parties also attended to denounce terrorism. A second anti-terrorist rally of an estimated 100,000 people was held in the city of Valencia, the birthplace of slain judge Francisco Tomas y Valiente. (Agence France Presse 2/20/96)
Feb 21 - 22, 1996 Police arrested two of the leading spokesmen for Herri Batasuna, a separatist Basque political party whose name means "People United," for association with an illegal armed group. The charges were based on Herri Batasuna's distribution of a video featuring hooded and armed ETA soldiers. Several other members were arrested in the week prior to the March 3 elections, and led to Basque marches and violence in Bilbao and Vittoria. (Agence France Press 2/22/96, 2/26/96, and 2/28/96)
Feb 27, 1996 The Herri Batasuna party announced its decision to remain in the parliamentary race, but to not take any seats they would win in protest at what it called "state oppression of the Basque people". It felt that this would allow the Spanish government to see its popularity, which it would not if the party pulled out of the election. (Agence France Presse 2/27/96)
Mar 3, 1996 The conservative People's Party beat out the ruling socialist party in Spanish elections, but fell 20 seats short of winning an absolute majority. Negotiations to form a coalition government lasted several weeks as both Catalan and Basque nationalist parties were approached. During the negotiations, the People's Party was forced to drop several of its campaign proposals, including its plan to force convicted ETA members to serve out their full prison sentences and its anti-regionalist stance. An ETA bomb threat emptied the election victory celebration of the People's Party. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 3/4/96 and The Financial Times 3/21/96)
Mar 4, 1996 In a separate incident, a bomb blamed on the ETA killed a policeman in the southern city of Irun. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 3/4/96)
Mar 20, 1996 Police arrested two members of Herri Batasuna for refusing to appear on a court summons. The original summons was based on their refusal to identify themselves after arrest at a protest in December. (Agence France Presse 3/20/96). Police defused a bomb left in a car at a supermarket. The ETA had phoned in an anonymous tip warning that the bomb would go off. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 3/21/96)
Mar 23, 1996 A small group of people wearing masks threw firebombs and lit a bus on fire in Pamplona. The group was suspected to have consisted of ETA supporters. (Agence France Presse 3/23/96)
Mar 26, 1996 Police arrested Valentin Lasarte, "Spain's most wanted man." He had been identified as the murderer of Frederico Mugico, and was suspected in other murders. Police also uncovered a bomb factory in an apartment he rented, which contained limpet mines and other explosives. (The London Times 3/27/96)
Apr 3, 1996 Police dismantled a bomb near Bilbao after an anonymous tip to Egin. The caller suggested that the bomb was in retaliation for a police cleanup of Donosti, one of the most murderous commandos of the Basque separatist organization ETA, which was begun after the arrest of Lasarte. (Agence France Presse 4/3/96)
Apr 10, 1996 Leaders of both the moderate Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) (which held 5 seats in Spain's parliament), and the Catalan nationalist Convergence and Union party (CiU) (which held 16), met with Spain's King Juan Carlos and explained that they would not join a coalition with the People's Party without recognition from the party of Spain's cultural diversity and guarantees of greater autonomy. (Agence France Presse 4/10/96)
Apr 14, 1996 The ETA released hostage Jose Maria Aldaya after 341 days of captivity. He became the longest-held hostage in ETA history. His family was believed to have paid 100 million pesetas (almost a million dollars) for his release, but also launched the longest demonstration against ETA violence with their silent protests during his captivity. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/14/96)
Apr 15, 1996 Police arrested a leader of Herri Batasuna on charges of insulting a police officer. (Agence France Presse 4/15/96)
Apr 24, 1996 The founder of the Popular Party and one of the authors of the Spanish constitution, Manuel Fraga, publicly declared that he felt the constitution should be rewritten to define the roles of the central government and Spain's 17 regional governments more carefully. (United Press International 4/24/96)
May 4, 1996 Spain's parliament elected Popular Party leader Jose Maria Aznar Prime Minister, with the support of three regionalist center-right parties: the Catalan CiU, the moderate Basque nationalist party PNV, and the Coalition of the Canary Islands (CC). (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 5/4/96). Three people were slightly hurt and eight more arrested, as Basque separatists protested France's expulsion of the former head of the ETA to Spain. (Agence France Presse 5/4/96)
May 20, 1996 A bomb near a bus stop in Cordoba killed one soldier and injured two other soldiers and a civilian. Another bomb containing 40 kilograms of explosives was later found in a nearby car. The police blamed the ETA. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 5/20/96 and Agence France Presse 5/20/96)
May 22, 1996 French Interior Minister Jean-Louis Debre and Spanish Interior Minister Jaime Mayor Oreja announced measures to be taken by the two countries to work together to decrease terrorism. Many Spanish Basque leaders lived in France. (Agence France Presse 5/22/96)
May 22 - 24, 1996 Spain's highest criminal court charged former Civil Guard chief of staff General Andres Cassinello with helping to set up the GAL death squads in the 1980's. Police later arrested Civil Guard General Enrique Rodriguez Galindo for working with the GAL. Popular Party officials reacted by saying the arrests would encourage terrorism. (Agence France Presse 5/24/96)
May 28, 1996 An ETA bomb damaged an insurance office in Navarra. (Agence France Presse 5/28/96)
May 30, 1996 Police suspected the ETA set off six bombs overnight in five towns across the Basque region. (Agence France Presse 5/30/96)
Jun 12, 1996 A parcel bomb took off three fingers of a judge in Madrid's criminal court. The ETA later claimed responsibility. (Agence France Presse 6/20/96)
Jun 14, 1996 After gaining the extradition of seven Basque terrorists from France the week before, Spain decided to ask for two more terrorists hiding in France and Venezuela. (Agence France Presse 6/14/96)
Jun 23, 1996 The ETA announced a one-week truce in the newspaper EGIN, during which time it would ask the Prime Minister to "state clearly how it intends to resolve the conflict" in the Basque region. Leading politicians called the announcement a "trap" and noted that the ETA still held one hostage. (Agence France Presse 6/23/96)
Jul 4, 1996 A small explosion went off in the hometown of Spanish cycling star Miguel Indurain. The Tour de France, which the ETA had threatened, was scheduled to pass through the town in mid- July. (Agence France Presse 7/4/96)
Jul 8, 1996 A Spanish court on Monday sentenced a member of the ETA to 288 years in prison for his involvement in three terrorist attacks in which five people were killed and 40 injured. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/8/96)
Jul 9 - 16, 1996 A series of small bombs targeted tourist areas in southern Spain, including the Alhambra Gardens, Pamplona and Malaga. The ETA warned of many of these (See Agence France Presse daily reports for this time period). By the end of the month, a total of sixteen bombs would be found in tourist centers in Spain, mostly claimed by the ETA. (Agence France Presse 7/31/96)
Jul 10, 1996 The Spanish government began an anti-terrorism summit with all political parties except Herri Batasuna. (Agence France Presse 7/9/96)
Jul 18, 1996 Police found 55 Molotov cocktails and a cache of other explosives near San Sebastian. Basque terrorists were planning on using them to stop the final leg of the Tour de France, which they felt "not adequately considered the national identity of the Basques." Suspected ETA members also launched a mortar attack on a police barracks in northern Spain. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/18/96)
Jul 20, 1996 The ETA claimed a bomb which went off in the departure lounge of the airport in Reus, which injured 35, mostly Britons. Two other bombs in nearby tourist towns of Cambrils and Salous went off without causing injuries. (The London Times 7/20/96)
Jul 21, 1996 Eight grenades were fired at a Civil Guard barracks in Basque country overnight. (Agence France Presse 7/21/96)
Jul 22, 1996 The editor of the newspaper Egin was charged with collaboration with the ETA. (The London Times 7/23/96)
Jul 23, 1996 French police arrested the third-highest ranking official in the ETA in France, near the Spanish border. They found a large collection of weapons, explosives, and fraudulent documents in the farmhouse where he had been hiding. (Agence France Presse 7/23/96)
Aug 4, 1996 Several former leaders of the ETA, speaking from exile in Latin America, encouraged the ETA to call an unlimited truce with the Spanish government. The ETA promptly reshuffled its leadership to make it more radical. (Agence France Presse 8/5/96)
Aug 6, 1996 An ETA bomb detonated in a state-owned hotel. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/6/96)
Aug 13 - 15, 1996 Several businesses and a bank in San Sabastian were bombed. (Agence France Presse 8/15/96)
Aug 17, 1996 Police arrested two journalists who worked for Egin, who were believed to be involved in a bomb attack on a textile factory in Salvatierra. (Agence France Presse 8/17/96)
Aug 22, 1996 Basque separatist youths threw firebombs at banks and a telecommunications office in Bilbao. (Agence France Presse 8/22/96)
Aug 23, 1996 Police defused an ETA bomb in a hotel garden in Bayona. (Agence France Presse 8/23/96)
Sep 16, 1996 543 Basque supporters in Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Geneva, Lisbon and Rome began a hunger strike to protest the conditions of the 543 Basques who claimed to be political prisoners in Spain. (Agence France Presse 9/16/96)
Nov 1, 1996 A car bomb parked next to a police residence in the Navarra region injured four overnight. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 11/1/96)
Nov 12, 1996 Basque separatists kidnapped Cosme Delclaux, a 34-year-old lawyer and son of the owner of one of the biggest glass factories in Spain. (Agence France Presse 11/27/96)
Dec 18, 1996 Two suspects were detained after suspected ETA members fired shells at a police barracks in Vitoria. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/18/96)
Dec 22, 1996 Several thousand people marched in the Basque town of Llodio to protest ETA violence, and specifically, the kidnapping of Cosme Delclaux. Politicians from all political parties, except Herri Batasuna, also took part. (Agence France Presse 12/22/96)
Jan 1, 1997 Police believed the same group of Basque youths was responsible for fire attacks on two railroad stations near Bilbao. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/1/97)
Jan 6, 1997 Police arrested five members of a Basque youth gang which had caused 300 million pesetas (over two million dollars) worth of damage in 50 different attacks. They said that such youth violence was becoming an increasingly important part of ETA strategy. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/6/97) Police disabled a one-pound bomb which the ETA had placed under a police car. (Agence France Presse 1/6/97)
Jan 7, 1997 The ETA launched three grenades at the Madrid airport, but missed their target. (Agence France Presse 1/7/97)
Jan 8, 1997 A Spanish army officer was shot dead outside his Madrid home, followed moments later by a bomb blast in a nearby shopping center's car park which injured a member of the royal guard. The police suspected that this was the first ETA fatality since July. (Agence France Presse 1/8/97)
Jan 10, 1997 25 members of Herri Batasuna - the party's entire leadership - was indicted by the Spanish supreme court of "collaboration with an armed group" in relation to its distribution of an ETA video and its justifications of two ETA murders. The ETA announced at the same time that it would resume random attacks in Spain, and no longer simply target military and government personnel. (Agence France Presse 1/10/97)
Jan 16, 1997 Police arrested 20 ETA supporters, including two ETA members, during a major sweep. The youth wing of Herri Batasuna called for a day of action the following day to protest the arrests. (Agence France Presse 1/16/97)
Jan 17, 1997 French police arrested the number three man in the Spanish ETA near Bordeaux. (Agence France Presse 1/17/97) Thousands of people across Spain took part in demonstrations to mark the anniversary of the kidnapping of Jose Antonio Ortega Lara by the ETA, and to demand an end to violence. They presented a petition of 70,000 signatures demanding his release to Lara's family, and a delegation from Northern Ireland's Families Against Intimidation and Terror came to join in the protest. (Agence France Presse 1/17/97)
Feb 2, 1997 A car bomb planted by the ETA outside a wine company shattered windows but caused no injuries. (Deutsche Presse Agentur 2/3/97)
Feb 3, 1997 Herri Batasuna announced that none of its members would go to court to face charges of collaborating with an armed group. At the same time, the moderate Basque nationalist party PNV asked the government and ETA to start a dialogue in order to end the violence in the Basque region, or risk losing the unity the parties had in confronting terrorism. The Interior Minister refused saying the negotiations would only boost the nationalists. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/3/97 and Agence France Presse 2/4/97)
Feb 10, 1997 Suspected ETA violence included the shooting death of a supreme court judge and the planting of a car bomb near an air base. Police had also arrested 40 youth the night before for injuring several people with Molotov cocktails, breaking windows and setting alight waste containers. They had been protesting the death of Herri Batasuna leader who had been found dead in his prison cell with his hands and feet bound. His death, like that of another Herri Batasuna leader that weekend, was ruled a suicide. The Supreme Court had begun jailing HB members who were not going to court as ordered. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/10/97)
Feb 11, 1997 A gunman believed to be a member of the ETA shot dead Francisco Arratibel, a businessman who had acted as an intermediary in an ETA hostage situation in 1988. The ETA had accused him of taking part of the ransom money in that proceeding. (Deutsch Presse-Agentur 2/11/97)
Feb 13, 1997 More than 35,000 people staged a demonstration and silent march in Granada Thursday against the Basque ETA terrorist organization, demanding an end to the violence. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/13/97) Police clashed with separatist sympathizers in the town of Bilbao during the arrest of Carlos Rodriguez, a leader of Herri Batasuna. The sympathizers had tried to prevent his arrest for failure to go to court (See 2/3/97). (Agence France Presse 2/13/97)
Feb 15, 1997 Two demonstrators were shot and wounded and 21 other people injured in violent clashes between police and radical members of the Harri Batasuna Peoples Unity (HB) who claimed to be protesting for "democracy for the Basque land." (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/15/97)
Feb 17, 1997 A bomb attack presumably carried out by members of the Basque separatist group ETA killed a police officer in Bilbao. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/17/97)
Mar 7, 1997 A general strike in the Basque country, called by Herri Batasuna to protest the imprisonment of virtually all of their leaders, failed miserably. Spain's two leading union centers, the Workers Commissions (CCOO) and the General Workers Union (UGT), produced a joint communiqué entitled "Enough of Fear and Coercion," and most businesses operated as usual. The few businesses that did close, and the students that stayed away from school, were largely believed to have done so out of fear of reprisals. (Inter Press Service 3/7/97)
Mar 11, 1997 ETA members shot a prison psychologist dead. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 3/11/97) Basque Prime Minister Jose Antonio Ardanza refused to participate in a debate on the status of Spain's 17 autonomous regions in the Spanish Senate. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 3/11/97)
Mar 27, 1997 Suspected Basque separatists lobbed a petrol bomb against the entrance of Pamplona's archdiocese, damaging the building's facade and destroying part of the entrance way. The archbishop of the northern Spanish town, Monsignor Fernando Sebastian, had recently criticized a hunger strike at one of Pamplona's seminaries by eight separatists asking that imprisoned members of the Basque ETA organization be all regrouped in the Basque region. (Agence France Presse 3/27/97)
Apr 20, 1997 A night of violence by ETA youths left three people injured and several buildings damaged in the town of Ordizia in Basque country. Youths in Bilboa also hurled petrol bombs at police and in Llodio, evacuating two blocks of apartment buildings in a bomb hoax. (Agence France Presse 4/20/97)
Apr 22, 1997 An ETA bomb at a construction site injured one man. (Agence France Presse 4/22/97)
Apr 23, 1997 Two small bombs exploded outside the homes of two Basque businessmen, causing slight damage. Police said they believed the attack was part of an intimidation campaign aimed at extracting funds from local businessmen. (Agence France Presse 4/23/97)
Apr 25, 1997 Police arrested two people for the murder of a police detective the day before. Despite Herri Batasuna's call for a day of action to mark the second anniversary of the ETA's "democratic alternative," the only other event were petrol bomb attacks on an insurance company, a bank and the home of a member of the Popular Party. (Agence France Presse 4/25/97)
Apr 29, 1997 Police defused a bomb after a call from the ETA alerting them to its presence. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/29/97)
May 5, 1997 The ETA abducted a baker and used his truck to deliver two bombs to a military barracks, before calling police to evacuate the building. Nobody was hurt in the attack. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 5/5/97)
May 15, 1997 The Spanish government and Basque regional authorities reached agreement on harmonizing tax laws, a condition the Basque nationalists had set for continuing to support the ruling conservative government. (Agence France Presse 5/15/97)
Jun 3, 1997 Spanish police detonated an explosive device that lay concealed in the car of a prison service official in Granada. (Agence France Presse 6/3/97)
Jun 7, 1997 A Basque teenager accidentally blew himself up while handling explosives in his family's apartment. His companion was injured and later questioned. The teenager had previously been found guilty of throwing rocks at a train. (Agence France Presse 6/7/97)
Jul 1, 1997 Police freed prison guard Jose Antonio Ortega Lara shortly after the release of ETA hostage, Cosme Delclaux for $7 million in ransom. (Inter Press Service 7/1/97)
Jul 4, 1997 A suspected ETA bomb injured a bank employee near the bank automated teller machine. (Agence France Presse 7/4/97)
Jul 10, 1997 The ETA kidnapped Miguel Angel Blanco Garrido, a Popular Party town councilor in the Basque region, and threatened to execute him by noon on the 12th if the Spanish government did not return all Basque prisoners to prisons in the Basque region. The action prompted considerable outrage, as 300 EU officials staged a silent protest in Brussels on the 11th, and the Prime Minister led a march of 500,000 through Bilbao on the 12th. The man was found barely alive one hour after the deadline passed, but died in the hospital. His death led to widespread mourning and violence. Several countries and the Pope denounced the killing, major trade unions called a one-hour strike, and mobs attacked bars and offices of Herri Batasuna and ETA youths. (Agence France Presse 7/11/97 and 7/12/97 and Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/10/97)
Jul 27, 1997 After weeks of marches against the ETA, sparked by the killing of Miguel Angel Blanco Garrido, Herri Batasuna organized 20,000 people in San Sabastian to march in favor of the ETA, and its goal of bringing Basque prisoners to Basque country. The march progressed peacefully, but youth attacked police that night. (Agence France Presse 7/27/97 and Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/27/97)
Aug 9, 1997 A bomb blamed on the ETA blew up a police barracks in a ski resort. In a separate incident, youths hurled petrol bombs at the house of a regional councilor in Azpeitia in the northern Basque province of Guipuzcoa and at banks in Lasarte and Usurbil. (Agence France Presse 8/9/97)
Aug 10, 1997 Three former ETA leaders, exiled in the Dominican Republic since the failure of peace negotiations in 1989, were extradited to Spain. Herri Batasuna denounced the move. (Agence France Presse 8/10/97)
Aug 11, 1997 A bank in Villabona was seriously damaged in a suspected ETA petrol bomb attack. (Agence France Presse 8/11/97)
Aug 16, 1997 Joseba Iribar, spokesman for the National Basque Party appealed to ETA to show "courage and intelligence" and declare an unlimited ceasefire. Instead, Basque gunmen sprayed a civil guard station with machine-gun fire early the following day while about 100 masked youths set fire to a bus and attacked police with petrol bombs. (Agence France Presse 8/17/97)
Aug 20, 1997 The deputy mayor of Pamplona, socialist party member Joaquin Pascal, received an anonymous death threat deriding him for taking a "fixed position" over the future of the Basque region. "We will not let people like you live peacefully in Euskal Herria (the Basque country) which you want to destroy," said the letter. (Agence France Presse 8/20/97)
Aug 28, 1997 Three elected members of the Basque separatist party Herri Batasuna (HB) were removed from key municipal posts in Pamplona after refusing to condemn Basque terrorism, and would no longer be on the administrative council of the city's savings bank, the school council nor the welfare clinics. One of the HB councilors, Alberti Petri said the party had not condemned ETA's assassinations because to do so would be: "frivolous, change nothing and be no use." (Agence France Presse 8/28/97)
Sep 5, 1997 A bomb presumably planted by the armed Basque separatist group ETA killed a policeman in Basauri in northern Spain. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 9/5/97)
Sep 6, 1997 Suspected members of the ETA set fire to buildings housing the headquarters of Eusko Alkartasuna (EA), and the Nationalist Basque Party (PNV), provoking outrage. (Inter Press Service 9/8/97)
Sep 7, 1997 Tens of thousands protested against the bombing of a policeman by the ETA. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 9/7/97)
Sep 24, 1997 Police killed two ETA terrorists and arrested twelve other suspects after a shootout begun by the terrorists in Bilbao. Police believed the arrests had severely weakened the Vizcaya cell of the ETA. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 9/24/97)
Oct 4, 1997 Several thousand members of Herri Batasuna demonstrated in Bilbao, San Sebastian, Vitoria and Pamplona two days before the scheduled trial of 23 HB members on charges of association with an illegal armed group. (See 2/21/96) (Agence France Presse 10/4/97)
Oct 6, 1997 The trial of 23 Herri Batasuna leaders was delayed for a week after their lawyers presented a motion to remove the chief justice from the case, charging that he was pro-government and would not give the defendants a fair trial. (Agence France Presse 10/6/97)
Oct 11, 1997 A car bomb placed about 200 meters from the site of the world cycle championships injured 3 members of the Civil Guard and one woman standing nearby. Police suspected the ETA. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 10/11/97)
Oct 12, 1997 Thousands rallied in Bilbao in support of the 23 leaders of Herri Batasuna who were to go on trial the following day. The rally was peaceful, but it was followed by brief clashes when masked youths hurled petrol bombs at police in Bilbao's old city. Floren Aoiz, party spokesman, gave a speech to the Bilbao rally in which he insisted that "Herri Batasuna is not ETA." The party condemned the first-ever trial of its entire leadership as an attempt to undermine Basque nationalism. (Agence France Presse 10/12/97)
Oct 13, 1997 The trial of the Herri Batasuna leadership began in earnest, after HB lawyers failed to convince the court to remove the chief justice, dismiss some or all of the charges, and move the location of the trial. The Herri Batasuna leaders stood accused of collaborating with an armed group, a criminal charge that carried between six and 12 years in prison. The civil parties to the trial, including the Socialist Basque Party and an association representing victims of terrorism, sought up to 22 years in prison for each defendant. The association said it would also seek a court ruling dissolving Herri Batasuna, the third largest party in the autonomous Basque country with 12 percent of the vote. (Agence France Presse 10/13/97) In a separate incident, a member of the Basque regional police force was fatally injured after he was shot for stopping the occupants of a van, who were unloading flower pots outside the new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Police later found four anti-tank grenades in the pots, and discovered a plan to detonate them during the King's inauguration of the museum. The death of the policeman led to a protest against ETA violence on the 16th in Bilbao, in which 250,000 people took part. (Agence France Presse 10/13/97, 10/15/97 and 10/16/97)
Oct 17, 1997 A bomb blast damaged an office building in Bilbao, and a military van was set alight in Vitoria in northern Spain, after an ETA member was sentenced to 30 years in prison for murdering a politician in 1995. The ETA claimed responsibility for the first attack. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 10/17/97)
Oct 23, 1997 The Christian democratic Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), which has five deputies elected for the autonomous Basque region, and the social democratic Eusko Alkartasuna had agreed to resume talks on restoring peace and establishing autonomy for the region. The ELA and Herri Batasuna also attended. The move was seen as a preparation for elections the following year. (Agence France Presse 10/23/97)
Nov 21, 1997 The ETA promised a partial truce by ending those attacks aimed at changing the government's policy of imprisoning Basque terrorists far away from the region. The government entered into talks to "step up moves" to resolve the prison dispute, but made no concrete steps to resolve the issue. (Agence France Presse 11/21/97)
Dec 1, 1997 The 23 leaders of Herri Batasuna accused of collaboration with an armed group were sentenced to seven years imprisonment and ordered to pay fines of 500,000 pesetas (3,300 dollars) each by the Spanish Supreme Court. The ruling marked the first time the Spanish government had been able to prove a link between HB and the ETA. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/1/97)
Dec 2, 1997 Two Basque journalists who worked for Egin were sentenced to 39 years in prison each for being members of the armed Basque separatist group ETA. They used their journalistic cover to store weapons and explosives at their homes. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/2/97)
Dec 5, 1997 Spanish police Friday arrested 12 Basque politicians of the 23 top Herri Batasuna (HB) members who were each given seven-year jail terms on December 1. The entire leadership of the HB party had refused to go to the prison to begin their sentences. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/5/97) ETA separatists, angered over the HB sentences, shot a politician's bodyguard, and set fire to a bus and a bank branch. (Agence France Presse 12/5/97)
Dec 7, 1997 A poll reported in the Spanish daily El Mundo revealed that 21.5 percent judged the seven-year prison sentence imposed on all 23 Herri Batasuna leaders to be excessive while 7.2 percent considered the jail terms inadequate. According to the survey, 33.6 percent of Basques believed the court acted under political pressure in sentencing the 23 leaders, while 35.2 percent disagreed. In total, 37 percent of Basques backed the sentences. (Agence France Presse 12/7/97)
Dec 8, 1997 Spanish interior ministry said it would transfer 15 ETA members from jails elsewhere in Spain and its overseas territories to prisons closer to home, although not all would go to the Basque country. Future transfers would be made on a case-by-case basis. The ETA still demanded the transfer of over 500 prisoners. According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, holding Basques far away from family and friends actually made them more dependent on the ETA and hurt their chances of peaceful reintegration into society once their sentences ended. (Agence France Presse 12/9/97)
Dec 10, 1997 The Basque Nationalist Party announced that it would not support a planned rally for jailed Herri Batasuna leaders on the 15th, in part because of past attacks on its party by the ETA. HB had originally called for a strike on the 15th, but had to plan 2-hour work stoppage and a protest instead after unions said they would rather not stop work all day. The two largest unions had already asked their members not to participate in any of the strikes. (Agence France Presse 12/10/97)
Dec 11, 1997 Jose Luis Caso, 64, of the ruling rightwing Popular Party (PP) was gunned down in a bar in Irun on the French border by two or more masked individuals. Police believed the ETA was responsible, making him the 13th person killed by the ETA in 1997, compared to 5 in all of 1996. Thousands of Basques held silent marches the following two days to condemn the violence, forcing Herri Batasuna demonstrations planned the same weekend (see entry for 10 December) to be postponed. (Agence France Presse 12/11/97 & 12/13/97 and Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/12/97)
Dec 21, 1997 Separatist youths torched two bank branches in San Sebastian, causing serious property damage. In Renteria, a Molotov cocktail attack damaged the town hall. Meanwhile, the newspaper El Pais reported that Herri Batasuna had split in its attempt to replace the 23 leaders jailed earlier in December. Moderate members and historic leaders had wished to distance the group from the ETA and seek a rapprochement with the other Basque nationalist parties, while other members in the party had refused. (Agence France Presse 12/21/97)
Dec 28, 1997 Thousands of supporters of the Basque separatist party Herri Batasuna (HB) paraded silently through the streets of Bilbao to protest the jailing of the party leadership. The marchers carried Basque flags and signs calling for peace and a "democratic solution." This march was initially supposed to have taken place two weeks earlier, but was postponed after anti-ETA backlash in light of the murder of a councilman. (Agence France Presse 12/28/97)
Jan 1, 1998 Suspected supporters of the Basque underground organization ETA torched three bank offices and erected street barricades in the city of Bilbao overnight. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/1/98)
Jan 8, 1998 Three assailants hurled petrol bombs at a shop owned by a conservative town councilor who had publicly challenged the Basque separatist group ETA to try to kill him. The councilor belonged to the Popular Party, the same party as the councilor killed on December 11. (Agence France Presse 1/8/98) Jose Ignacio Iruretagoyena, 34, a councilor of the governing Popular Party (PP), died after one of his legs and an arm were severed when his car exploded after he turned on its ignition key. His death sparked anti-violence protests in Valencia, Madrid, Saragossa, and many other cities for several days. He had felt safe because he was Basque and spoke Basque. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/8/98 and 1/10/98)
Jan 10, 1998 Two people were injured after reporting smoke coming from a letter bomb addressed to a military officer in their apartment building. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/10/98)
Jan 19, 1998 Police defused a suspected ETA bomb in a post office in the Basque province of Guipuzcoa (Agence France Presse 1/19/98)
Jan 30, 1998 The ETA shot a local PP politician and his wife in the head in Seville. Hundreds of thousands marched in protest against their murders the following day. The shootings marked the first PP murders outside the Basque country since July, and caused the police to fear that the ETA had rebuilt. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/30/98 & 1/31/98) Hooded arsonists burned down two bank branches near San Sebastian. (Agence France Presse 1/30/98)
Feb 6, 1998 The Basque Interior Ministry asked Spain to remove the national police sent in after the murders of Popular Party members, lest they cause a constitutional crisis. The Basque region was supposed to be able to control its own security matters. (Agence France Presse 2/6/98)
Feb 13, 1998 The regional government running the Basque region fined the separatist political group Herri Batasuna 17 million pesetas ($113,000) for a general strike it called on March 7, 1997, which violated an urban security law. (Agence France Presse 2/13/98)
Feb 22, 1998 A powerful bomb exploded in front of a high-speed French train in the Basque region of northern Spain, damaging carriages but causing no casualties. (Agence France Presse 2/22/98)
Mar 2, 1998 The newspaper El Pais suggested that Herri Batasuna might publicly urge its armed wing, ETA, to observe a two- to-three-month truce, which would give the new Herri Batasuna leadership public credibility and might also lead to concessions from the Spanish government. (Agence France Presse 3/2/98)
Mar 17, 1998 The Popular Party, the socialist party, the PNV and Izquierda Unida met to discuss a peace plan put together by PNV member and Basque government leader Jose Antonio Ardanza. The two Basque parties approved it while the two national parties opposed its provisions to include Herri Batasuna in peace talks if it renounced violence. The parties agreed to meet again after elections in October. (Agence France Presse 3/17/98)
Mar 19 - 20, 1998 Police arrested thirteen people and confiscated 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of the explosive Amosal, 3.5 kilograms of chloralite, six sections of grenade-launchers, a rifle, ammunition, remote control devices, and false vehicle number plates, in an attempt to break up the "Araba cell" of the ETA. (Deutsche Presse Agentur 3/20/98)
Mar 21, 1998 Spanish police arrested five suspected members of the ETA, including two French nationals. The French pair, Jean-Jose Esnal, 33, and David Gramon, 25, were arrested by a police patrol as they sat in a van parked at a petrol station. The van was packed with more than 240 kilograms (528 pounds) of explosives, grenades and a revolver fitted with a silencer. (Agence France Presse 3/21/98)
Mar 28, 1998 An anti-tank grenade exploded near the Civil Guard barracks in Intxaurrondo at around 10:10 p.m. causing minor damage. Twenty minutes later, two Mecar-type grenades targeted an army barracks in Loyola district. Police blamed the ETA for the attacks. (Agence France Presse 3/28/98)
Apr 1, 1998 Four bombs exploded between midnight and 1 a.m. near houses of representatives of the governing Popular Party (PP) in Fuenterrabia, Irun and San Sebastian in the Basque region. Another blast caused serious material damage to an apartment house in Irun. The attacks were believed to be ETA revenge bombings for the arrest of approximately twenty ETA members the previous week. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/1/98)
Apr 1, 1998 Justice officials carried out a search in an apartment directly above the headquarters of Herri Batasuna offices in the Basque capital of Vitoria, where they discovered evidence of a spy operation of the Spanish secret service, Cesid. The organization had been spying on the party since 1992, but the Minister of Defense, which oversaw Cesid, justified the actions by saying that they were spying not on a political party, but on a terrorist organization. The scandal went on for several weeks and led to renewed calls for the resignation of the Minister of Defense and various members of Cesid, as well as the reform or reorganization of the office. (Agence France Presse 4/15/98 and Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/21/98)
Apr 5, 1998 Herri Batasuna and other Basque political parties organized a march to protest the dispersal of ETA terrorists in prisons around the country. The crowd of 10,000 marched without incident. (Agence France Presse 4/5/98)
May 3, 1998 About 100 suspected Basque separatists, with their faces masked, armed with Molotov cocktails clashed with police after a guerrilla-style assault on the village of Matiena. Police also announced that they had broken up the "Donosti cell" of the ETA, which was responsible for several fatal attacks. (Agence France Presse 5/3/98)
May 6, 1998 Tomas Caballero, 63, became the 5th conservative politician to be killed in Spain since July 1997. He was a spokesman for the People's Union of Navarre (UPN), a sister party of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party (PP). Police also uncovered another ETA attempt to kill Spain's King Juan Carlos. (Deutsch Presse-Agentur 5/6/98)
May 8, 1998 A young man believed to be a member of the ETA shot a retired member of the Civil Guard as he was leaving his home. He later died from his injuries, prompting a wave of anti-terrorist demonstrations. Police also defused a bomb found under a telephone company vehicle in San Sebastian. (Agence France Presse 5/8/98 and 5/11/98)
May 15 - 17, 1998 An insurance office was set on fire in Hernani, and a youth was arrested at Irun, near the French border, for setting fire to the car of a member of the Spanish national police. Some 30 masked attackers hurled Molotov cocktail bombs into the debating chamber of a town hall and set fire to a police car in the Basque town of Renteria, The assailants, attacking in small groups, also tried to set fire to a bus and threw an incendiary device at a policeman trying to arrest them. (Agence France Presse 5/17/98)
Jun 5, 1998 A presumed female terrorist was shot dead in an exchange of fire with police who raided a hideout in the Basque town of Guernica in northern Spain, while another 14 were detained. Her death prompted a series of attacks on police and the homes of moderate Basque politicians the following weekend. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 6/5/98 and Agence France Presse 6/7/98)
Jun 21, 1998 An estimated 150 masked men raided the Basque town of Portugalete overnight, injuring two policemen in their rampage. The gang threw up roadblocks and set fire to several shops and a bus with Molotov cocktails in what the ministry said was a "perfectly organized" operation carried out in groups of 30. (Agence France Presse 6/21/98)
Jun 23, 1998 The ETA announced that it was resuming its campaign of terror against the regional Basque police, ending an eight-month unofficial truce, in light of the June 5 killing of one of its members. (Agence France Presse 6/23/98)
Jun 25, 1998 Manuel Zamarreno, 43, councilor for Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party (PP), was killed when a bomb hidden in a motorcycle exploded near his car as he was going to buy bread. Police believed the bomb was set by the ETA and detonated by remote control. His bodyguard was also injured. His death moved thousands to protest against ETA violence in subsequent days. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 6/25/98 and Agence France Presse 6/27/98)
Jun 29, 1998 The four ETA members who admitted kidnapping Jose Antonio Ortega Lara and holding him for 18 months were sentenced to 32 years in prison each. (For details on the kidnapping, see January 16, 1996, January 18, 1997, and July 1, 1997). (Agence France Presse 6/29/98)
Jul 11, 1998 Thousands gathered across Spain to commemorate the death of councilor Miguel Angel Blanco by the ETA the year before. (Agence France Presse 7/11/98)
Jul 15, 1998 A Spanish judge ordered the closure of the Egin newspaper after police detained 11 people associated with the daily on charges of channeling money to the ETA. The paper and its radio station Egin Irratia had to provisionally suspend their activities because they formed part of a criminal structure, judge Baltasar Garzon said. Police later detailed codes used within the newspaper which allowed ETA leaders in France to communicate with members in "cells" around Spain. 75,000 people later marched to protest the "temporary" closure, which could last up to five years under Spanish law. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/15/98 and Agence France Presse 7/17/98 & 7/18/98)
Jul 16, 1998 The Basque separatist newspaper Egin appeared on news stands under a new name. "Eskadi Informacion or "Basque News." It was only eight pages long compared to the usual sixty, reported it would take the place of Egin, and contained an editorial condemning the closing of the private daily. (Agence France Presse 7/16/98)
Jul 26, 1998 Around 20 people were injured when a group of 50 youthful supporters of the ETA went on the rampage in a Spanish village close to the regional capital San Sebastian. The masked youths hurled petrol bombs at a police patrol, put up street barricades and tried to set light to a railway station in the village of Renteria. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/26/98)
Jul 29, 1998 Former Spanish interior minister Jose Barrionuevo and 11 former senior police and security officials were handed prison terms ranging from 28 months to 10 years for backing death squads which killed suspected Basque terrorists in the 1980s. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/29/98)
Aug 18, 1998 Elected members of Herri Batasuna took the rare step of joining with other political parties and condemning separatist violence in the town of Getxo. (Agence France Presse 8/18/98)
Aug 23, 1998 Two police vans in Bilbao came under attack by a dozen masked pro- independence militants hurling Molotov cocktails during an annual celebration. (Agence France Presse 8/23/98)
Aug 31, 1998 The Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) announced it had begun talks with Herri Batasuna in the hopes of realizing an ETA ceasefire before the regional elections in October. HB proposed a four-point "National Accord" for the political parties, unions and nationalist organizations to debate in the coming months over the conditions for a comprehensive peace. The four points are self-rule, unification of the Basque territory, national and social reconstruction and "the democratic alternative" -- that is, an end to armed struggle. The ruling national Popular Party strongly criticized the talks, saying that there was no sign that the ETA was willing to put down its weapons. (Agence France Presse 8/31/98)
Sep 3, 1998 Several Basque leaders announced the formation of a new political coalition, Euskal Herritarrok (Basque Citizens), which would run candidates for the Basque regional parliament. It would contain members of Herri Batasuna as well as Zutik -- born of the (Trotskyist) Revolutionary Communist League and the (Maoist) Basque Communist Movement - and some pro-ETA trade unions. Critics derided the new party, which they felt was a way to get around a pending court ruling which might outlaw the ETA. (Inter Press Service 9/3/98)
Sep 12, 1998 23 political parties and unions, including Herri Batasuna, the Basque Nationalist Party, and the Basque local communist coalition, signed the Lizarra declaration, which called for peace talks "without insurmountable conditions" in the Basque area. The proposed talks would be named the Irish Forum after similar successful peace talks in Northern Ireland. (Agence France Presse 9/12/98)
Sep 16, 1998 The ETA announced an open-ended truce, in the hopes of helping start the peace talks and furthering the goal of Basque sovereignty. After a week of meetings and consultations, the Spanish government announced that it would not accept the truce until the ETA disbanded and turned in its arms. (Agence France Presse 9/16/98 and 9/21/98)
Sep 19, 1998 According to a poll in the Spanish El Pais newspaper, 25 percent of Spaniards thought the ETA sincerely wanted to end its 30 years of violence, and 57 percent feared it was stalling for time or to divide political opinion; while 59 percent of the Basque population trusted the truce, and only 19 percent perceived it as some kind of trap. More than half of all Spaniards, 58 percent, opposed Basque independence even if the ETA ceased all violence. But Spanish Basques were more divided on the matter, with 39 percent for independence and 38 percent against it. (Agence France Presse 9/19/98)
Oct 13, 1998 Herri Batasuna announced that it would be willing to give up Basque claims to Navarra after the October 25 elections. The Basques considered Navarra to be Basque while the Spanish government, and those in Navarra, did not. (Agence France Presse 10/13/98)
Oct 15, 1998 The Spanish government announced that it would relocate four seriously ill Basque separatist prisoners to prisons in the Basque region, but denied that this was the start of a broader relocation policy as demanded by Herri Batasuna. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 10/15/98)
Oct 25, 1998 In the first regional elections held without threat of Basque violence, the PNV won 21 of 75 regional parliamentary seats (down from 22 in 1994), and the Popular Party won 16 (up from 11). Euskal Herritarrok and the socialist party each won 14 seats. (Agence France Presse 10/25/98)
Oct 28, 1998 Some newspapers reported that the ETA planned to turn in its arms in light of the Lizarra declaration and the success of Basque parties in the Basque regional election. Representatives of Herri Batasuna dismissed these reports as a government ploy. (Agence France Presse 10/28/98)
Nov 3, 1998 Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar announced the start of transparent negotiations with the ETA. The ETA countered with a list of conditions under which it would continue the talks, including retaining the goal of sovereignty for the Basque region and the removal of "Spanish" forces - such as civil guards and police - from the area. It added that its truce would only become permanent when it decides the peace process is progressing. (Inter Press Service 11/3/98 and Agence France Presse 11/5/98)
Dec 8, 1998 111 Basque prisoners with ties to the ETA began hunger strikes to protest the Spanish policy of detaining Basque prisoners far from their homes and not releasing them after the completion of three-fourths of their sentences. (Agence France Presse 12/8/98)
Dec 10, 1998 Four people were injured when Basque separatists detonated several small bombs and set the stairwell of an apartment building in Pamplona on fire. Police believed a police officer who lived in the building was the intended target of the attack. Though several bombs and arson fires had been set in previous months, this was first injury-causing attack since the ETA cease-fire. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/10/98)
Dec 18, 1998 The Spanish interior ministry announced that it would move 21 ETA prisoners from prisons on the Canary and Balearic islands enclaves to prisons on the Spanish mainland - but not in the Basque country - before Christmas in an effort to help the peace process. (Agence France Presse 12/18/98)
Dec 31, 1998 Thousands demonstrated for some 500 Basque separatists serving time in penitentiaries throughout Spain to be transferred to jails in Basque country. Demonstrations took place throughout the Basque country and the neighboring northern region of Navarra. The largest turnout was in Bilbao, where 2,000 people took to the streets. (Agence France Presse 12/31/98)
Jan 5, 1999 Up to 30 suspected Basque separatists attacked a police garrison in northern Spain with at least a dozen Molotov cocktails and fire bombs. The ETA did not claim the attack, nor did the police state that they were suspects, which led to speculation that a splinter group may have perpetrated the attack. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/5/99)
Jan 9, 1999 More than 100,000 people demonstrated in the streets of Bilbao on Saturday in defense of Basque prisoners' rights, heeding a call by Basque nationalist political parties. A policeman was injured during the protest after a demonstrator threw a Molotov cocktail at him. (Agence France Presse 1/9/99)
Jan 11, 1999 The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that between November and January, over forty businessmen in the Basque and Navarra regions had received letters from the ETA requesting "revolutionary taxes" of 10-12 million pesetas ($70,000-$85,000) in exchange for the protection of their businesses from ETA attacks. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/11/99)
Jan 15 - 16, 1999 Masked Basque separatist youths went on an overnight rampage, setting fire to a post office and several other buildings in Bilbao and set cars and garbage containers alight in Pamplona. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 1/16/99)
Jan 29, 1999 Masked youths hurled firebombs at the Spanish court in Llodio, in the Basque country, but caused no injuries or serious damage. (Agence France Presse 1/29/99)
Jan 30, 1999 Around 4,000 people demonstrated on Saturday for a lasting peace in the Basque country following the cease-fire called last year by the armed separatist ETA organization. The march was organized by a group of political parties, but neither Herri Batasuna, nor Spain's ruling conservative Popular Party took part in the demonstration (Agence France Presse 1/30/99)
Feb 2, 1999 The National Court ruled that Jose Antonio Urrutikoetxea, alias Josu Ternera, 48, would not be allowed to leave a Madrid prison in order to attend a meeting of the human rights commission of the Basque parliament. Urrutikoetxea, who is believed to have participated in dozens of murders, is awaiting Spanish trial after serving 10 years in France. He was appointed to the human rights commission as the representative of the radical Basque nationalist group Euskal Herritarrok which is seen as the political wing of the armed separatist group ETA. Urrutikoetxea was also a regional MP for Euskal Herritarrok, and has been granted permission to leave prison to attend parliament meetings. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 2/2/99)
Feb 6, 1999 Herri Batasuna and the PNV opened a Basque "regional assembly" in Pamplona, which the ETA hoped would eventually represent a start to replacing the current government in the area. The assembly aims to bring together the mayors of all the towns and villages of the seven "historic" Basque provinces, of Guipuzcoa, Viscaya, Alava and Navarra in Spain, and Basse-Navarre, Labourd and Soule in France. Many of those invited refused to attend, and the Spanish government expressed alarm at the invitation of French representatives. (Agence France Presse 2/6/99)
Feb 14, 1999 A leading councilor of Spain's ruling Conservative Party (PP) in a suburb of Bilbao received a death threat letter which contained a photo of Manuel Zamarreno, a PP councilor murdered by the armed Basque separatist group ETA in June last year, with the message that the "same fate" awaited the Bilbao councilor. (Agence France Presse 2/14/99)
Feb 28, 1999 Thousands of Basque militants demonstrated on Saturday in the three main cities of the Spanish Basque country, at the behest of Herri Batasuna. 5,000 people took part in the biggest demonstration in Bilbao, and another 2,000 marched through San Sebastian and about 1,000 in Vitoria. (Agence France Presse 2/28/99)
Mar 3, 1999 According to the results of a survey by the firm Sigma Dos and published in El Mundo, 17.7 percent of Basques wanted independence from Spain, while a full 74.2 percent said they would prefer that the Basque country remain an autonomous community within the Spanish state. The results depended greatly on political affiliation, with 57.9 percent of those who voted for Spain's center-right governing Popular Party in favor of self- determination, while support for that option stood at 71 percent among those who voted for the leading opposition party, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party. Support for self-determination climbed to 78 percent among those who voted for moderate Basque nationalist parties, and to 95.4 percent among parties with ties the ETA. (Inter Press Service 3/3/99)
Mar 9, 1999 The suspected military leader of the ETA, Javier Arizeuren Ruiz, one of Spain's most wanted men, was arrested along with five other suspected members while in France. Spain also formally asked for the extradition of Esteban Murillo Zubiri, who was arrested in the Netherlands in January for carrying a false passport and had later requested political asylum. (Agence France Presse 3/9/99) In a separate operation, Spanish police in San Sebastian arrested ten members of the Donosti cell of the ETA. (Agence France Presse 3/10/99)
Mar 13, 1999 An investigating magistrate accused former state security chief Julian Sancristobal of having ordered the 1984 murder of Herri Batasuna leader Santiago Brouard and financing the killing from secret interior ministry funds. (Agence France Presse 3/13/99)
Mar 14, 1999 Bombs went off in a Citroen car showroom in Bilbao, Molotov cocktails were thrown at the home the parents of a deputy minister of the socialist party in Bilbao, and 15 Herri Batasuna leaders began a week-long hunger strike to protest the arrests of ETA members. (Agence France Presse 3/14/99)
Mar 20, 1999 Several thousand Basque separatists demonstrated in Bilboa to protest the arrest of alleged members of the ETA. Leading members of Herri Batasuna (HB) led the procession under a banner bearing the logo "Leave the Basque lands in peace." Other marchers carried portraits of some 480 ETA prisoners held in jails across Spain and called for them to be moved to prisons in the Basque lands. (Agence France Presse 3/20/99)
Mar 22, 1999 After police ruled the death of death of Jose Luis Geresta, 29, a presumed member of the armed separatist group ETA, whose body was found in Renteria, a suicide, the ETA accused the Populist Party or the government of his murder. Basques protested the death with violence and graffiti. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 3/22/99)
Apr 12, 1999 Tens of thousand Basque workers walked off their jobs for an hour to protest government "immobility" in the peace process. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 4/12/99)
Apr 25, 1999 Riot police broke up a clash between dozens of supporters of the far-right Alliance for National Unity (AUN), headed by Ricardo Saenz de Ynestrillas - which had held a meeting in Bilbao - and Herri Batasuna, which viewed the AUN meeting as a provocation. (Agence France Presse 4/25/99)
May 15, 1999 Herri Batasuna announced a major reversal in its policy. It would now begin taking part in regional councils in coalition with other nationalist parties. It had previously not recognized the Basque parliament, and sent its members to regional councils with mandates to act in opposition. However, it noted that it did plan to nominate ETA members - including those accused of political assassinations, sparking protests by other political parties. (Agence France Presse 4/15/99)
May 31, 1999 The Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that Spain had released over 100 ETA prisoners since the declaration of the ETA cease-fire in September. According to the paper, there were 449 ETA members in prisons as of the end of May. (Agence France Presse 5/31/99)
Jun 28, 1999 A mob of masked youths hurled petrol bombs at the armed forces headquarters in Vitoria overnight, causing no injuries but considerable damage. Police believed the perpetrators were members of the ETA. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 6/28/99)
Jul 15, 1999 Basque regional premier Juan Jose Ibarretxe declared that while the Basque regional peace process would not lead to independence, the Basques did want to change the Spanish constitution to allow for more Basque autonomy. The statement was controversial both within Ibarretxe's PNV party, which supported independence, and in the Spanish government, which opposed changing the constitution. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/15/99)
Jul 21, 1999 The Spanish constitutional court overturned the prison sentences of 22 leaders of Herri Batasuna (see December 1-5, 1997) on the grounds that the sentencing harmed the rights of the defendants. (Agence France Presse 7/21/99)
Jul 29, 1999 Euskal Herritarrok withdrew its support for two resolutions at local councils which denounced political violence. (Agence France Presse 8/1/99)
Aug 8, 1999 Several thousand Basques rallied in San Sebastian in support of the ETA and to ask for the transfer of ETA prisoners to local jails. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/8/99)
Aug 20, 1999 Seven people were arrested for demonstrating during the opening of the world athletic championships in Seville. Among others, two human mascots were arrested after they ripped off parts of their costumes to reveal slogans in Spanish demanding the Basque prisoners be freed. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 8/20/99)
Aug 21, 1999 Thousands of residents of Bilbao were without electricity for a day after suspected Basque separatists started a fire in five electricity transformers. (Agence France Presse 8/21/99)
Aug 26, 1999 The Spanish government announced the end of its dialogue with the ETA, blaming Herri Batasuna and the ETA for not showing up at an arranged meeting and not being committed to the peace process. The Basques, for their part, claimed that the Madrid government had been stubborn and inflexible, especially in not relocating Basque prisoners as a goodwill gesture. (Agence France Presse 8/26/99)
Sep 7, 1999 The Spanish government announced plans to move 24 Basque prisoners to prisons in the Basque region and another 81 closer to the area. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 7/9/99)
Sep 16, 1999 A spokesman for Herri Batasuna said during an interview on the anniversary of the ETA truce that the group would equate surrendering its arms to the Spanish government with defeat, and that it would only consider burying them or surrendering them to a national Basque government. A Spanish government spokesman had stated earlier that since the ETA was still extorting money from Basque businesses, it was still in existence and could still kill. (Agence France Presse 9/16/99)
Sep 27 - 28, 1999 Violence erupted after the death of ETA member Esteban Nieto, who had been sentenced to 2,635 years in prison for terrorist attacks, but was released in April due to terminal cancer. ETA members hurled firebombs at a pharmacy, the houses of a former conservative councilor in Vitoria and of a journalist in Pamplona, and an electricity plant in Fuenterrabia, and a van of the postal services was set on fire in San Sebastian. The house of a Socialist councilor was set on fire in Ibarra. The attacks caused minor damage and injuries. Separatists also burned buses and barricades and sprayed walls with slogans. The street violence was described as the worst since the ETA declared a ceasefire the year before. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 9/28/99)
Oct 1, 1999 Seven people, including one of Spain's most wanted separatists, were arrested in a swoop by French police. They also found 2.5 tons of explosives, 11.1 kilometers (36,600 feet) of fuse and almost 5,000 detonators, which were part of a huge theft staged by a seven- or eight-person commando barely 48 hours earlier in a warehouse in the western region of Brittany. In Madrid, police said one of the men, Jon Bienzobas Arreche, aged 29, alias "Karaka", was suspected of assassinating the president of the country's Constitutional Court, Francisco Tomas y Valiente, on February 14, 1996. (Agence France Presse 10/1/99)
Oct 24, 1999 The ETA issued a communiqué to the Basque media, calling for fresh negotiations with the Spanish government, a referendum on the future of the Basque region, and the withdrawal of Spanish forces from the area. It proposed three negotiators - two who were being held in Spanish prisons and the other in a French jail. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 10/24/99)
Nov 3, 1999 Twenty Basque prisoners in six French and Spanish prisons began a hunger strike to demand that they be allowed to serve their sentences in the Basque region. (Agence France Presse 11/5/99)
Nov 5, 1999 The ETA issued two statements. In the first, it demanded that all its members in French and Spanish jails be considered political prisoners. In the second, it claimed that the Spanish government was trying to impose restrictions on the ETA negotiation team. Madrid wanted the ETA delegation to be led by the head of ETA's political wing, Mikel Albizu Iriarte, alias Antz, as it was at the last meeting in Switzerland. But ETA wanted former ETA leaders Jose Antonio Urrutikoetxea and Jose Javier Arizkuren Ruiz -- currently in prisons in Spain and France -- to be allowed to lead its delegation. ETA confirmed that its official negotiators with the Spanish government were the six members -- all currently serving jail sentences -- first designated in July 1996. The government later agreed to talk with all three ETA members. (Agence France Presse 11/5/99 and 11/7/99)
Nov 8, 1999 Five deputies from the Euskal Herritarrok coalition began a week-long hunger strike in solidarity with the Basque prisoners already on strike. They demanded the release of Basque prisoners with health problems and those who had already served three-fourths of their sentences. (Agence France Presse 11/8/99)
Nov 28, 1999 The ETA announced it would end its cease fire in five days, claiming the government had staged a false peace process, since it had only met with the ETA once. The government replied that it had done all it could, and called for rallies against ETA violence. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 11/28/99)
Dec 2, 1999 At the EU headquarters in Brussels, justice and interior ministers of several countries, including Spanish Crown Prince Filipe, broke off a meeting early to protest the expected end of the ETA ceasefire on Dec. 3. In Spain, similar rallies were held in several cities. For the first time, Herri Batasuna also participated in an anti-ETA violence rally, outside the regional parliament building in Pamplona. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/2/99)
Dec 4, 1999 The day after the ETA's truce ended, unknown assailants threw petrol bombs at the door of the Basque region deputy of the Popular Party, who had been the target of an ETA assassination attempt in early 1998. Also, a Spanish newspaper released a poll which showed that 45 percent of people in Spain approved of President Aznar's policies towards the ETA during the ceasefire, while 21 percent said they had mixed feelings and 19 percent disagreed. In the Basque region, however, the same poll found 46 percent were at odds with Azner compared to 24 percent who had mixed feelings and only 16 percent who approved. (Agence France Presse 12/4/99)
Dec 9, 1999 The moderate Basque nationalist party PNV broke off its political alliance with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's conservative Popular Party (PP). Aznar had earlier accused the PNV, which governs the Basque region, of being too lenient towards the ETA. He was responding to the PNV's offer to help Herri Batasuna's work for Basque independence. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/9/99)
Dec 18, 1999 Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Francisco Alvarez Cascos announced that the Spanish government was still ready and willing to talk to the ETA. The group still had not launched any terrorist attacks since ending the ceasefire. (Agence France Presse 12/18/99)
Dec 21, 1999 Police detained Jose Maria Novoa, a candidate for Herri Batasuna in Basque local elections in June, after he was found driving a stolen truck laden with nearly a ton of explosives ready to be detonated. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/21/99)
Dec 23, 1999 Police seized a second ETA bomb. They believed that this bomb, and the one found on 12/21, were going to be simultaneously detonated at 7:56 PM in separate shopping areas in Madrid, and would have been strong enough to collapse a tall building or injure people within a two-kilometer radius. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/23/99)
Dec 27, 1999 About 700 people began a hunger strike organized by Gestoras pro Amnistia (Campaigners for Amnesty) to protest the conditions of ETA prisoners in Spain and France. (Agence France Presse 12/27/99)

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