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Europe

More ETA arrests despite declaration of ceasefire

Spanish authorities have arrested seven members of a group connected to ETA, the Basque separatists. These are the second such arrests since ETA announced a ceasefire that the government says doesn't go far enough.

A poster reading ETA no

The Spanish government's crackdown on ETA continues

Early on Tuesday, Spanish police detained seven suspected members of Askapena, considered the international propaganda branch of the armed separatist group ETA. The arrests took place in the Basque and Navarre regions of northern Spain and follow similar police actions earlier in September against Ekin, another ETA-related group.

All of those being held were charged with belonging to an armed group.

The Spanish government has continued its crackdown against the web of Basque separatists despite the organization's declaration of a ceasefire on September 5. As a condition of that ceasefire, ETA is demanding talks with Spain on a possible sovereign Basque state made up of part of northern Spain and part of southern France.

That possibility has been rejected by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose government wants an unconditional surrender. The Spanish government is cautious about ETA's promises after the group broke a "permanent ceasefire" in 2006. Shortly after the government agreed to peace talks, ETA set off a bomb in a parking lot at Madrid's airport, killing two men.

ETA has killed some 850 people in its 42-year fight for independence and is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP/dpa)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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