Police in Barcelona have thwarted an alleged plot to blow up the homes of military officers on the eve of home-rule referendums in Spains most populous and industrialised regions, Catalonia and the Basque country.
GV Crowds arriving at hall in Guernica
SV INTERIOR PNU leader Carlos Garaicoechea enters hall and receives applause
CU Crowd clapping and waving flag (2 SHOTS)
GV PAN OVER Large crowd in hall
SV Garicoechea speaking (3 SHOTS)
SV Camera team filming rally and crowds applauding (2 SHOTS)
CU Band playing Basque song
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Background: Police in Barcelona have thwarted an alleged plot to blow up the homes of military officers on the eve of home-rule referendums in Spains most populous and industrialised regions, Catalonia and the Basque country. More than 350-people were evacuated from their homes after the discovery of a fifty metre (165-feet) tunnel dug in the direction of four blocks of flats. Police found cables in the tunnel and a government spokesman said it had been clearly dug to plant explosives beneath the military homes.
SYNOPSIS: The discovery heightened fears of an attempt by guerrillas to sabotage Thursday's (25 October) voting on statutes which would restore considerable autonomy to Catalonia and the Basque country after 40-years of direct rule from Madrid. It came as supporters of the statutes made their final efforts to try to avoid a low turn out at the twin referendums. In Guernica, the moderate Basque Nationalist Party held a rally to urge people to take part. It was one of the last chances to drum up support before official campaigning ended to give voters a day to reflect before going to the polls. Party Leaders Carlos Garaicoechea told the rally a sixty per cent turnout would be enough to ensure success.
The Nationalist Party is fighting the left wing Separatist Coalition "Herri Batasuna" which has campaigned for abstention, fearing the home rule statutes would take away the chance of independence for the Basque country. Most observers believe the referendums will overwhelmingly favour of statutes, but a low turnout could weaken the home rule assembles the governments before they could take wide control of public services. The Madrid government fears it would also mean a set back in its campaign against the Separatist guerrilla group E.T.A.