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|Basque militants display defiance |
(about 3 hours later)
Militants claiming to speak for Basque separatist group Eta have said it will not give up arms until it has secured independence for the Basque region.
The announcement was read out by three hooded gunmen during a pro-independence rally in northern Spain.
The statement made no mention of the ceasefire Eta declared six months ago. Since then, talks with the Spanish government have failed to begin.
Eta has killed more than 800 people in the last 40 years.
Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba was due to publish a report shortly on the lack of progress since the ceasefire.
'Present and future'
|Saturday's rally was held in the town of Aritxulegi, near San Sebastian.||Saturday's rally was held in the town of Aritxulegi, near San Sebastian.|
In their statement, reported by Basque media, they said: "Until we achieve independence and socialism in the Basque country, we reaffirm our commitment to keep taking up arms firmly.
|"The fight is not a thing of the past. It is the present and the future."||"The fight is not a thing of the past. It is the present and the future."|
Low-level street violence, such as petrol bomb attacks on banks, buses and political party offices has been rising in the Basque region of northern Spain in recent months.
A Spanish government spokeswoman declined to comment on the statement, saying only: "The peace process is going to be long and the prudent option is not to react to Eta communiques."