Spain's first basque regional parliament held its inaugural meeting in Guernica on Monday (31 March) against a background of increasing political violence.
GV & SV Wrecked car and bloodstains in Azcoita (4 shots)
GV Coffin being carried out of church and through large crowd into hearse
SV Large march of mourners through streets (2 shots)
GV Demonstrators with placards chanting outside Council building in Guernica (3 shots)
SV Members of Basque Parliament arriving at Casa de Juntas
GV PAN People assemble for ceremony
SV Members of Parliament pose on steps
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Background: Spain's first basque regional parliament held its inaugural meeting in Guernica on Monday (31 March) against a background of increasing political violence. The inaugural session took place the day after the funeral of Jose Piris, aged 13, the fist child to die in extremist activities in the Basque country.
SYNOPSIS: The schoolboy died on Saturday (29 March) when this car was wrecked by a bomb in Azocoita, near the northern city of San Sebastian. The bomb was placed under the car owned by a member of the Civil Guard. When the policeman drove off the device failed to explode. Jose Piris was returning from a football match when he kicked the package lying in the street, and it exploded. The bomb also wounded a twelve-year-ole friend so badly that doctors said he would be blind for life.
The crowds were mourning the 36th death this year by Basque extremist groups. Basque Homeland and Liberty (ETA), has killed 22 people and most of the others were killed by right-wing extremists in revenge.
Before the opening session of the new Basque Parliament outside the historic Casa de Juntas in Guernica, some two-thousand demonstrators called for the amnesty of suspected guerrillas and protested against unemployment.
Voters in the three Basque provinces of Spain elected their first home-rule parliament in March. The Results showed the basque nationalist parties won a total of 42 out of sixty seats. The voters' preference for nationalist candidates proved a crushing defeat for Spain's ruling party, the Union of the Democratic Centre (UCD), which managed only six seats. The party, Herri Batasuna -- which emerged as the Basque country's second political force in the elections -- refused to occupy its eleven seats, denouncing the new parliament as a "ghost institution". Its absence gives the moderate Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) an effective 25-seat majority.