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Spain Mourns Slain Politician

July 14, 1997|From Associated Press

BILBAO, Spain — Black ribbons and white sheets of mourning adorned apartment balconies in the northern city of Ermua on Sunday as residents honored a young city councilman kidnapped and slain by the Basque separatist group ETA.

There was no known motive for targeting 29-year-old Miguel Angel Blanco other than the fact that he was a member of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's conservative Popular Party. He was kidnapped Thursday and fatally wounded Saturday after the government refused to give in to demands of the ETA, or Basque Homeland and Freedom.

In Ermua, Blanco's hometown, thousands of mourners shouted "Miguel! Miguel!" and "Murderers!" as they clapped to honor him Sunday while his body was driven to City Hall to lie in state until his funeral today.

King Juan Carlos I eulogized Blanco, the son of a construction worker, as an "innocent victim of fanatic terrorism."

The ETA had said last week that it would kill Blanco unless about 450 ETA prisoners were transferred from jails around Spain to ones in the Basque region. The government refused.

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