INTRODUCTION: Fighting flared in the Spanish Basque country's National Assembly on Wednesday (4 February) as radical nationalist politicians shouted down King Juan Carlos.
GV King Juan Carlos taking place at speaker's podium as Queen Sophia watches
GV Assembly applauding
SCU King Carlos speaking, Assembly applauding (3 shots)
GV Skirmish breaking out between members of Assembly as politicians throw punches on floor before leaving.
SV ZOOM OUT GV King Carlos watching as calm is retorted, people applauding.
GV King Carlos speaking (2 shots)
GV Assembly applauding
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Fighting flared in the Spanish Basque country's National Assembly on Wednesday (4 February) as radical nationalist politicians shouted down King Juan Carlos. The King was delivering an historic peace-making speech when the ten minute disturbance occurred. It was the second day of the King's first visit to the Basque region, long-troubled by political violence waged by the separatist guerrilla organisation ETA (Basque Homeland and Country).
SYNOPSIS: King Carlos and Queen Sophia received a mixed reception when they arrived in the region on Tuesday (2 February). In the small provincial town of Victoria the welcome was cool and indifferent. Later in Bilboa an enthusiastic crowd of about ten thousand turned out. But later in the evening, street battles raged, buses were overturned and petrol bombs thrown before police restored order.
In the ancient Assembly chamber in Guernica everything appeared calm and orderly as King Juan Carlos prepared for his opening remarks. The audience awaited what was to be an historic speech, on an historic occasion. But as soon as the King began his speech more than thirty radical Basque parliamentarians jumped to their feet and sang Basque nationalist songs.
Pandemonium ensued as more than one hundred deeply-shocked moderate Basque members replied with vocal allegiance of "Viva El Rey" (Long Live the King).
The King watched calmly as the confrontation between the rival politicians reached fever pitch. Queen Sophia sat close by, pale but showing no emotion.
After about ten minutes, plain clothes security guards swept into the chamber, swapped punches with the radicals and marched them out.
Once decorum was restored, King Carlos resumed his speech. He declared his faith in democracy and his confidence in the Basque people.
The Casa De Junta, or Assembly Chamber is where Spanish Kings traditionally sweat to uphold Basque privileges in return for the people's allegiance. But this insulting incident showed that the radicals did not accept the King's constitutional role as head of state for all Spain.
The audience responded warmly to the monarch's praise for the democratic elections of the region's semi-autonomous government.