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Large protest for return of Basque prisoners

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 12, 2013 at 12:46 p.m.

— Tens of thousands of Basque separatist sympathizers have marched in downtown Bilbao calling for an amnesty that would allow ETA prisoners to serve out the remainder of their sentences in the northern Spanish region rather than in jails further afield.

Protesters marched to the city’s town hall behind banners saying “Human rights, resolution, peace. Basque prisoners back home.”

Some protesters waved Catalan flags Saturday in solidarity with another northern Spanish region with an important separatist movement.

Spain has for more than two decades dispersed ETA prisoners under an amendment to the country’s 1975 anti-terrorism law. There are an estimated 700 ETA prisoners held in jails dotted around Spain and France, and only around two dozen are believed to be in Basque region prisons.

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