At 2.00 am this morning, ETA sent a press release to the Basque paper Berria declaring an end to the “permanent ceasefire” which the Basque terrorists originally announced in March last year (see ETA ceasefire).
Recent events suggested that a formal announcement of this nature by ETA was imminent – although the terrorists did of course in effect end the ceasefire in in December when they planted a bomb in Madrid’s main airport killing two civilians. After the bomb, the terrorist group claimed that it had not intended to kill civilians, that the bomb had been intended as a warning and that the truce was still in place. However the the Spanish government called off peace talks with the group and demanded an end to violence.
A break-through in the peace process has since looked increasingly unlikely given and the following events all tended to point to an eventual end to this latest ETA truce:
- Several thefts of explosives in France suggested that the terrorists were re-arming and arrests were made in France of armed ETA suspects
- The Spanish authorities continued to pursue and capture ETA suspects, and refused to postpone any trials pending negotiations
- Mobilisation by the PP of victims and supporters has led to several anti-negotiation with ETA rallies being held all over Spain.
The opposition party has been ruthless in its criticism of the Government, and for the first time in Spanish history the opposition used terrorism as an anti-government weapon in the recent election campaigns
- Last week an unusually large number of Basque businesses received letters demanding a payment of 150,000 euros to the ETA cause so that the Basque terrorists could “carry on fighting for the cause” at what the letters said was a “key moment in the fight for freedom”
- A video obtained by Spanish television channel Tele Cinco last week showed ETA paramilitaries instructing how to make bombs and how to shoot to kill
- Refusal of the political wing of ETA to condemn violence throughout the peace process
In its announcement made this morning, ETA says it will consider the ceasefire to be officially over as from midnight tomorrow, 6th June.
The terrorists claim that “the minimum conditions required in order to continue negotiations no longer exist” and that “Zapatero’s Government has responded to the cease in armed actions with arrests, tortures and persecutions“.
ETA accuses Zapatero of going back on his original predisposition in favour of “facism which leaves citizens and parties with no rights“. President Rodríguez Zapatero is expected to address Spain this morning and the opposition party will make a statement after the President’s address. Zapatero is expected to appeal for calm, to reassure Spaniards that the government will remain firm in its fight to end terrorism and to ask for the support of all political parties in the fight against ETA.More news stories about ETA.