INTRODUCTION: Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Spain's Basque country in protest at the death of Jose Ignacio Arregui, a suspected separatist guerrilla.
GV Mourners filing past coffin and CU OF body of Jose Ignacio Arregui. (2 SHOTS)
SV PULL OUT TO GV Crowd singing Basque national anthem.
Gv Coffin draped in Basque flag being carried through noisy crowd, led by priests. (2 SHOTS)
GV, SV Demonstrators with banners marching through streets chanting. (2 SHOTS)
GV Massed marchers continue demonstration through streets. (2 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Tens of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Spain's Basque country in protest at the death of Jose Ignacio Arregui, a suspected separatist guerrilla. Arregui died on February 13 while in police custody. A post mortem revealed severe bruising to his body and the Spanish Parliament has been in uproar over allegations of police torture.
An estimated 10 thousand people marched through Arregui's home town of Zizurki where the 30-year-old activist was buried on Monday (16 February). According to police, Arregui was responsible for the murder of 2 civil guards, and when arrested on February 4, he was plotting the kidnapping of a prominent public figure.
But protest leaders have accused police of using brutal torture to extract false confessions from Arregui during his 9 days in detention. At the funeral, the crowd honoured Arregui by singing the Basque national anthem.
Most of the protestors were members of the Basque separatist group ETA, accused of waging a violent campaign against the Spanish Government. But their slogan was a call for peace in the Basque country and an end to the violence. Arregui's death was having repercussions in other parts of the country too.
More than a hundred inmates of Madrid prison started a hunger strike in protest at the alleged torture, a general strike crippled industry throughout the North of Spain, and several police chiefs offered to resign.
In San Sebastian, twenty thousand protestors marched through the city streets shouting slogan sand carrying banners calling for peace. The marchers were students and worker who had joined the general strike.
As the Basque country protests continued, five police inspectors who had conducted the interrogation of Arregui were ramanded in custody by a magistrate. And the Justice Ministry confirmed that it was investigating a total of 75 cases of alleged torture in Basque jails.