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Basque's ETA Announces Permanent Ceasefire

Three members of Spain's Basque Separatist Group ETA declare a permanent ceasefire in a video release, 10 Jan 2011

The Basque separatist group ETA has declared a permanent ceasefire. The group has waged a violent campaign to form an independent state in northern Spain and southwest France.

A video posted on the website of Basque newspaper "Gara" shows masked people purportedly from the separatist group ETA.

One of the masked people says ETA has decided to declare a permanent and general ceasefire that can be verified by the international community.

A democratic process is needed, the representative says, that will represent the will of the Basque people.

ETA has killed more than 800 people since the group surfaced around half a century ago.

It is not the first time the group has laid down their weapons. In September, the group called a temporary ceasefire, which the Spanish government and Basque officials said was not enough. They wanted a permanent end to the violence, without conditions.

A crackdown by Spanish and French police against ETA has weakened the militant group. A number of top leaders have recently been tracked down and arrested, and ETA’s political wing, Batasuna, has urged the group to end its military campaign and tackle its aims politically.

People on the streets of Spain’s capital, Madrid welcomed the ceasefire news.

Madrid citizen Jesus says this is what they have been waiting for, this is definitive.

But others are wary and say they do not believe ETA will stick this ceasefire out.

This Spanish man says it would be great if the news was true, but he does not trust ETA.

ETA first claimed responsibility for a violent attack in 1968 after shooting and killing a police chief. Its most recent deadly attack was in July of 2009.