In final letter to Spain, Basque separatists ETA end ′all political activity′ | News | DW | 03.05.2018
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In final letter to Spain, Basque separatists ETA end 'all political activity'

After waging a decadeslong struggle, ETA's announcement has marked the definitive end to its bloody campaign for an independent state. But some have rejected the separatist group's declaration, calling it "propaganda."

Basque militant group ETA announced on Thursday that it has "completely dismantled all its structures," marking a definitive end to its decadeslong struggle for independence from Spain.

In what the group dubbed as a "final" letter, ETA said it "put an end to all its political activity," adding that it "will no longer express political positions, promote initiatives or interact with other actors."

Read more: ETA prisoners recognize pain caused by bloody campaign

"ETA wished to end a cycle of the conflict between the Basque Country and the Spanish and French states; the cycle of the use of political violence," the group said.

A dark history

Basque separatists formed ETA in 1959 in response to late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's repression of Basques, but its violent campaign emerged in 1968 with the killing of a police officer.

Read more: ETA's disarmament sows suspicion in Spain

Since then, the group has been involved in the deaths of more than 850 people, including the assassination of Franco's heir apparent Luis Carrero Blanco in 1973. In Blanco's case, the separatists dug a tunnel under the road he drove down for daily Mass and filled it with explosives, detonating them as he passed by.

By 2011, ETA had faced major setbacks with the arrest of most of its leadership. That year, it announced an indefinite ceasefire. It finalized the disarmament process last year, marking the end of the group's bloody campaign to establish an independent state.

'Propaganda'

But some remain skeptical of the group's intentions, with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy describing ETA's latest remarks as "propaganda."

Read more: Is Catalan independence a second coup in democratic Spain?

"No matter what ETA does, there is no room for impunity for its crimes. ETA can announce its disappearance but its crimes do not disappear nor do the efforts to pursue and punish them," Rajoy said on Thursday.

"We won't owe them anything and we have nothing to thank them for."

ETA members have reportedly planned a press conference for Friday.

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ls/sms (AFP, AP)

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