World

Thousands march in northern Spain in support of Basque separatist prisoners

  • Thousands of pro-independence Basque citizens march on the street in Bilbao, northern Spain on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, during a protest against the Spanish police detention of members of the Basque movement Herrira last September 30. The Herrira movement supports all prisoners of the Basque armed group ETA. All members have now been released. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

    Thousands of pro-independence Basque citizens march on the street in Bilbao, northern Spain on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, during a protest against the Spanish police detention of members of the Basque movement Herrira last September 30. The Herrira movement supports all prisoners of the Basque armed group ETA. All members have now been released. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)  (The Associated Press)

  • Thousands of pro-independence Basque citizens march on the street in Bilbao, northern Spain on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, during a protest against the Spanish police detention of members of the Basque movement Herrira last September 30. The Herrira movement supports all prisoners of the Basque armed group ETA. All members have now been released. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

    Thousands of pro-independence Basque citizens march on the street in Bilbao, northern Spain on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, during a protest against the Spanish police detention of members of the Basque movement Herrira last September 30. The Herrira movement supports all prisoners of the Basque armed group ETA. All members have now been released. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)  (The Associated Press)

Several thousand people have marched in the northern city of Bilbao to express support for members of the Basque separatist group ETA who are currently serving jail terms for terror crimes.

Protesters chanted slogans on Saturday calling for ETA prisoners to be brought back to serve their sentences in prisons within the Basque region.

Spain has for decades dispersed such prisoners to jails across the country to make it difficult for them to communicate among themselves.

ETA is considered a terrorist organization by Spain, the U.S. and the European Union.

It is blamed for the killings of more than 825 people in a campaign of bombings and shootings aimed at achieving an independent Basque state straddling Spain's border with France.

The group has been decimated by arrests in recent years.