Spain ceremonially destroys more than 1,000 weapons from Basque terrorist organisation ETA. Prime Minister Sanchez receives support for the action, although victim associations and the PP speak of propaganda.
The ceremony took place on Thursday, destroying ETA’s 1,000 weapons seized over the years. This short video shows the weapons placed in three rows after which a road roller slowly ran over the weapons. The ceremony took place in the courtyard of Guardia Civil barracks in southern Madrid.
Support but also criticism of ceremonial act
The Spanish Prime Minister and representatives of associations for victims of terrorism and public services working against terrorist movements attended.
Prime Minister Sánchez spoke briefly at the ceremony: “This moment symbolises the long fight against terrorism that was so painful for our country. We can’t undo the deaths that fell, and we can’t erase the past. But now that we have destroyed the weapons, we are going to make sure that we never forget this and try to restore the pain and the honour.”
However, not all victims’ associations supported this ceremony. Some associations and the Partido Popular called the event “propaganda.” They are angry about Sánchez’s support from the Basque separatist party EH Bildu and for transferring ETA prisoners to prisons closer to the Basque Country.
Current Spanish PM only at ceremony
Spanish newspaper El Mundo, found it striking that the politicians who faced ETA at the time did not attend the ceremony. Pedro Sánchez mentioned Felipe González, José María Aznar, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Mariano Rajoy in his speech. Defense Minister Grande-Marlaska and Robles were two of the six ministers who attended the ceremony with Sánchez.
Symbolic monument to be created from ETA weapons
The destroyed weapons will be melted down after the ceremony and turned into a monument that will symbolise the end of ETA. 90% of the nearly 1,400 weapons seized between 1977 and 2005 are from ETA. The remaining 10% of the weapons were from Grapo. The EU designated Grapo – a communist group – a terrorist organisation.
In June 2007, Spain arrested the last members of Grapo after which the organisation ceased to exist. ETA announced a permanent ceasefire in 2011 and halted all terrorist activities.