________________________________________________________________________ Youths attack Spanish banks following Basque arrests ____________________________________________________________________________ Copyright ) 1997 Nando.net Copyright ) 1997 The Associated Press SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain (December 7, 1997 12:17 p.m. EST http://www.nando.net) -- Hooded youths firebombed three bank branches in Spain's Basque region overnight after the jailing of 23 members of a pro-Basque independence party, police said Sunday. Two bank offices in the town of Azpeitia and another in the coastal city of San Sebastian were damaged in the attacks. The vandalism came hours after the final four of 23 leaders of Herri Batasuna were jailed for their recent conviction of collaborating with the armed Basque separatist group ETA. Saturday night, 5,000 young people marched through San Sebastian shouting slogans in favor of ETA and against the jailings. They burned Spanish and French flags as well as pictures of the king of Spain. On Friday, gunmen believed to belong to ETA shot a politician's bodyguard in the head and then exploded a car in San Sebastian in apparent retaliation for the Herri Batasuna arrests. He was in stable condition. Herri Batasuna, the Basque region's third-ranking political party and one which tacitly supports ETA, had warned the arrests would have serious consequences. ETA, whose name stands for Basque Homeland and Freedom, has killed nearly 800 people since in a 29-year campaign for independence.
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