INTRODUCTION: In the wake of continuing Basque separatist guerilla violence, the Spanish cabinet has been holding a round of meetings to decide on tougher security measures.
GV Crowd and military personnel outside church in Bilbao (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR Madonna statue
SV ZOOM INTO Priest officiating at ceremony
SV Coffin with military guard in aisle of church mourners seated (3 shots)
GV EXTERIOR ZOOM INTO CU flower lying on pavement
SV & GV Crowd outside church as coffin and cortege exit (2 shots)
SV Crowd watching
GV ZOOM IN TO CU flag-draped coffin carried in procession
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In the wake of continuing Basque separatist guerilla violence, the Spanish cabinet has been holding a round of meetings to decide on tougher security measures. The recent deaths of Lieutenant-Colonels Ramon Romeo Rotaeche and Jose Luis Prieto Gracia brought to 25 the number of senior Spanish officers killed in the past three years. Colonel Prieto Gracia was killed in Pamplona on Saturday (21 March) hours after Colonel Rotaeche died. He had been shot three days previously.
SYNOPSIS: Many attended the funeral in Bilbao of Colonel Rotaeche, who was 52. The military wing of ETA (Basque Homeland and Liberty) claimed responsibility for his death.
The Defence Ministry described the latest killings as the start of an offensive against the military to provoke the armed forces and destabilised democracy.
Calls for harsh measures against terrorism have come from politicians and the Spanish press. They say the government must choose between guerillas and democracy. Some new security measures have been adopted, but Prime Minister Calvo Sotelo has resisted declaring a state of emergency.
Flowers mark the spot where Colonel Rotaeche was struck down. Both officers dies from gunshots to the back of the head, fired by a woman.
Some members of the large crowd assembled outside the Bilbao church chanted for the freedom of military men said to be involved in the February uprising. The aim of the rebels, who seized parliament, was to set up a military government to intensify the fight against terrorism. However, the Defence Ministry said the armed forces would not react emotionally to this latest "stupid, brutal and bloody ETA manoeuvre. It said it hoped the whole of Spanish society would remain calm.
While the politicians and generals prepare their new campaign against terrorism, the political-military wing of ETA has threatened to end its month-long ceasefire, if what it calls a "swing to the right" is not reversed. The government has asked for the active collaboration to fight ETA.