- Title: Thousands gather in Bayonne to support ETA disarmament
- Date: 8th April 2017
- Summary: BAYONNE, FRANCE (APRIL 8, 2017) (REUTERS) CROWD LISTENING TO SPEAKER CHILD SITTING ON MAN'S SHOULDERS CROWD APPLAUDING VARIOUS OF SPEAKERS ADDRESSING AUDIENCE VARIOUS OF MEN IN CROWD WEARING BERETS PEOPLE WATCHING OUT OF WINDOW PEOPLE HOLDING FLAGS VARIOUS OF CROWD (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PARTICIPANT, JOSEPHA, SAYING: "Today is an historic day for the Basque people and I came to support it." (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARTICIPANT, MARGAITTA, SAYING: "This news of disarmament fills us with hope at last; hope for calm, and the willingness of all the parties to sit around a table and finally talk about the future of prisoners, about the release of those who are in a very bad state, and who are hundreds of kilometres from their families, about their return to their country - which really is a priority." (SOUNDBITE) MAYOR OF ABERATS-SILLEGUE, SAUVEUR BACHO, SAYING: "It is, in a way, the reason why I am here today, to back this peace process and to call for the French and Spanish governments to be sensitive about this process. It seems that today there are positive changes, particularly regarding the position of the French Interior Minister. I think it is a good thing that the French government has also given signals regarding this. I think this will be a milestone in this conflict that has lasted too long in the Basque country." (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PARTICIPANT, VIRGIRIO PONCE, SAYING: "I think the time has come to respect the rights of the Basque people. At this event, we are calling for peace, and this is a step forward. We hope that we don't turn back; we hope to continue forward towards peace and independence for these people. That is what they want: peace and independence." VARIOUS OF CROWD CHANTING AND BRANDISHING SIGN OF PEACE ARTISANS ASSOCIATION CROWD APPLAUDING
- Embargoed: 22nd April 2017 18:00
- Keywords: ETA Spain France weapons Bayonne demonstration separatist group Basque
- Location: BAYONNE, FRANCE
- City: BAYONNE, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0026BJG85J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thousands of people attended a rally on Saturday (April 8) in the French Basque region Bayonne to celebrate the handover of all of ETA arms, and commemorate the suffering and deaths engendered in each of the camps, in Spain and in France.
ETA, which waged a bloody campaign for independence from Spain for over half a century, killing more than 800 people over several decades through bombings and assassinations, had given up all its arms and explosive to a mediator group of non-violence militants known as "the Peaceworkers".
Crowd members at Saturday's demonstration brandished flags and signs in support of the militant group. Many spoke of an "historic day", one that could drive them forward towards peace.
The Peaceworkers have called on the French and Spanish governments to get involved in the peace process. Madrid said ETA's handover of weapons in the French city of Bayonne was positive but insufficient, and called on the group to formally dissolve and apologize to its victims, whilst French Interior Minister, Matthias Fekl, said it was an "important" day.
Earlier on Saturday, mediators passed authorities a list of co-ordinates for eight sites where ETA had stored its weapons arsenal. French police and bomb disposal experts were tasked with locating the weapons.
ETA was formed in the late 1950s during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, with the aim of establishing an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southern France.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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