About 200 people demonstrated outside the Spanish Embassy in London tonight (Monday December 28) against the sentences announced for the 16 Basque Nationalist tried in Burgos recently.
About 200 people demonstrated outside the Spanish Embassy in London tonight (Monday December 28) against the sentences announced for the 16 Basque Nationalist tried in Burgos recently. The crowd chanted anti-Franco slogans and carried banners caricaturing General Franco as Hitler.
An exiled Basque leader in London, Inaki Behotegi, said that there could be civil war in Spain. The ETA, he said, would answer the Spanish Government in the only way the Spanish Government understands--with violence. One of the organisers of the London demonstration was 21-year old Basque student, Jon Exteberria, who should have stood trial in Burgos himself, but escaped to Britain when the others were arrested. An all-night vigil was held after the demonstration at which there were no incidents.
Six of the 16 on trial were given the death sentence and the others sentenced between 12 and 70 years imprisonment. Defence lawyers in the trial refused to witness the sentences by signing them in protest. The sentences now go to the local Army Commander for confirmation. If he confirms them the Spanish cabinet must be informed and General Franco, as supreme head of state, is the only person with the right to commute the death penalty to a 30-year sentence.
The five-man panel of Army judges announced the sentences today 19 days after the trial had finished. When the trial began on December 3, more than 80,000 workers staged protest strikes in the Basque areas of northern Spain and anti-Franco demonstrations were also staged in Spain and in several cities of western Europe.