ETA pledges to maintain violence on 50th anniversary
The militant Basque separatist group ETA on Friday pledged to continue its violent campaign against the Spanish state as it marked its foundation 50 years ago, dpa reported.
ETA would continue "fighting with all forces and in all ways" as long as Spain and France did not recognize what the group regards as the rights of the Basque people, ETA warned in a communique published by the Basque newspaper Gara.
ETA was founded during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, who cracked down on Basque nationalism.
However, ETA said its goal "was not to defeat Francoism, but to take the Basque Country to freedom," which remains its aim today.
ETA was founded in 1959, but only launched a campaign of shootings and bombings in 1968.
It has since then killed more than 800 people in its attempts to create an independent Basque state of more than 2 million residents, carved out of northern Spain and southern France.
Democratic Spain granted the Basques a large measure of autonomy after Franco's death in 1975, but that has not made ETA renounce violence despite its declining support.
A significant number of Basques are favourable to independence, but the vast majority rejects ETA's violent tactics.
ETA is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States.