Monday, April 10, 2017
Basque E.T.A. Disarms
ETA (an acronym for Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (“Basque Country and Freedom"), is a formerly armed leftist Basque nationalist and separatist organization in the Basque Country (in northern
and southwestern ).
The group was founded in 1959 and later evolved from a group promoting
traditional Basque culture to a paramilitary group engaged in a violent
campaign of bombing, assassinations and kidnappings in the Southern Basque
Country and throughout Spanish territory. Its goal was gaining independence for
the Basque Country. ETA is the main group within the Basque National Liberation
Movement and is the most important Basque participant in the Basque conflict. France
Since 1968, it has killed over 820 people including 340 civilians and injured thousands more. ETA is proscribed as a terrorist group by
France, the United Kingdom, the , and the European
Union. This convention is followed by a plurality of domestic and international
media, which also refer to the group as "terrorists". There are more
than 300 imprisoned members of the group in United States Spain,
and other countries. France
ETA declared ceasefires in 1989, 1996, 1998 and 2006. On 5 September 2010, ETA declared a new ceasefire that is still in force, and on 20 October 2011, ETA announced a "definitive cessation of its armed activity". On 24 November 2012, it was reported that the group was ready to negotiate a "definitive end" to its operations and disband completely. The group announced on 7 April 2017 that it had given up all its weapons and explosives and would be officially a disarmed organization as of the following day.
ETA's motto is Bietan jarrai ("Keep up on both"), referring to the two figures in its symbol, a snake (representing politics) wrapped around an axe (representing armed struggle.
In September 2016, French police stated that they did not believe ETA had made progress in giving up arms. In March 2017, well-known French-Basque activist Jean-Noel Etxeverry was quoted as having told Le Monde, "ETA has made us responsible for the disarmament of its arsenal, and by the afternoon of 8 April, ETA will be completely unarmed.". On 7 April, the BBC reported that ETA would disarm "tomorrow", including a photo of a stamped ETA letter attesting to this. The French police found 3.5 tonnes of weapons on 8 April, the following day, at the caches handed over by ETA.