INTRODUCTION: Spain's Interior Minister Senor Rodolfo Martin Villa visited the northern Basque country on Friday (14 January) in an attempt to defuse tension after violent clashes occurred between riot police and demonstrators seeking the release of political prisoners.
PAMPLONA, SPAIN 14 JANUARY, 1977 (REUTERS - OSVALDO FIORINO)
SV PAN Minister in car leaving
SV Guard outside door
SV INT Interior Minister Martin Villa enters room and walks to table (2 shots)
SV Provincial mayors at meeting
SCU & CU Official speaking and others applaud (2 shots)
01 CU & SV Senor Villa speaking (2 shots)
SV PAN News conference and Interior Minister speaking to newsmen (3 shots) (NO TRANSCRIPT)
42 ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Senor de Oriol was kidnapped last month by the First of October groups of anti-fascist resistance (ERAPO). They have said they would free him only if political prisoners are released.
Background: INTRODUCTION: Spain's Interior Minister Senor Rodolfo Martin Villa visited the northern Basque country on Friday (14 January) in an attempt to defuse tension after violent clashes occurred between riot police and demonstrators seeking the release of political prisoners.
SYNOPSIS: In Pamplona, Senor Villa attended a meeting with about 250 mayors of the Basque province of Navarre. The tension in the region arose after the Government banned a rally planned by Basque mayors on Sunday (16 January) in the town of Echarri-Aronaz to press demands for an amnesty, regional autonomy and the use of Basque as an official language. The government said it feared the rally would provoke serious disturbances. About 30 mayors from the Guipuzcoa province boycotted Friday's meeting and said they would hold a meeting on sunday despite the ban.
At the meeting, Senor Villa said the government would allow the use of Basque as an official language where necessary, but would not formally recognise the green, red and white Basque flag because it was the symbol of only one party and was not accepted by all Basques.
The Interior Minister said the kidnapping of Senor Antonio Maria de Oriol, President of Spain's advisory Council of State, was a challenge which made the question of an amnesty difficult.
He said a wide amnesty would be beneficial but in the face of pressures from Senor de Oriol's Kidnappers, the Government ran the risk of making the country ungovernable The Government had already announced it was seriously considering an amnesty for the estimated 200 political prisoners, but appeared wary of encouraging left-wing guerrillas who are holding Senor de Oriol.