A weekend of protests in Spain begins today

Demonstrations organised by PP to take place all over Spain today

Spain’s main opposition party, the PP, has organized demonstrations to take place all over Spain today in order to show solidarity with the victims of terrorism. The PP has called on all citizens to participate. These smaller demonstrations planned for today will serve as a warm up for tomorrow’s demonstration in Madrid which they hope will attract thousands of demonstrators. The demonstrations are protesting against the government, following the ETA prisoner De Juana Chaos being released from prison and being placed under house arrest.

This decision effectively saved De Juana’s life as it meant that he gave up his hunger strike which had lasted over 100 days. His health was deteriorating rapidly and his vital organs could have stopped working at any moment. He is now recovering in hospital in San Sebastian before returning home where will remain under house arrest for the remaining part of his sentence for threats (he has already served 18 years in prison for his part in over 20 political assassinations).

Some believe the government’s decision has also saved the delicate ‘peace process’ that has been taking place between the government and ETA. If De Juana de Chaos had died the consequence would have been very serious and it is almost certain that street violence ‘calle borroka’ as it is called in the Basque Country would have escalated. The Government has repeatedly called on the PP to stop using terrorism and the victims of terrorist violence as an electoral weapon (local and regional elections are due to be held next month), and has pointed out that several terrorists were given shorter sentences under the PP governments.

However the PP will inevitably try to capitalise on the unpopularity of the Government’s decision (according to a survey carried out this week by Cadena Ser, 60 percent of voters disagree with it) and their leaders talk of little else.

They have hired 500 buses to transport people to Saturday’s protest march in Madrid, Aznar and the current PP leader, Mariano Rajoy, have both taken flowers to a memorial set up to remember the 25 people killed by De Juana, and yesterday the leaders started driving around Madrid in a bus in a bid to publicise their view that the government has given in to blackmail by De Juana Chaos, and to get support for the marches.

The demonstrations today under the banner ‘Freedom in Spain’, will take place today in the three main cities in the Basque Country – Bilbao, San Sebastián and Vitoria – as well as all major towns in Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla la Mancha and Castilla y Leon, Catalunya, the Comunidad Valenciana, Extremadura, Galicia, the Baleares, the Rioja and Murcia.

In all 65 protests have been organised.