INTRODUCTION Several thousand prisoners have been released from Spanish jails following a general call for amnesty for political detainees.
GVs Supporters outside house of released Basque prisoner, Bilbao, Spain, and prisoner coming out and joining crowds on march through streets (2 shots)
SV Basque supporters singing and carrying banners and flags
SV & CU Supporters singing in town square (2 shots)
SV Woman and child listening as ex-prisoner addresses crowd
GV Crowd clapping
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Background: INTRODUCTION Several thousand prisoners have been released from Spanish jails following a general call for amnesty for political detainees. The release came as King Juan Carlos returned home from an overseas tour in the middle of an internal crisis.
SYNOPSIS: While King Carlos was away, the Spanish Government released more than 500 prisoners under a recent amnesty. The amnesty was aimed at preparing the way for general elections later this year, but according to the Ministry of Justice only a small proportion of the released prisoners were in the so-called 'political' category. Among those released were nine out of 100 Basque Nationalists -- the largest group of political prisoners in Spanish jails.
The Basques are the main thorn in the Government's side in the current situation -- and are expected to be a major factor in the general elections in May, the first democratic vote in the country for more than forty years.
Although only a small fraction of the number of prisoners released, the Basques received a massive emotional welcome.
The Basques have been a major factor in Spanish politics for several years -- they're a small proportion of the population, but a vociferous one, and have contributed a large amount towards the general unrest in the country since the death of General Francisco Franco and the advent of a low democracy.