EIGHT ON TRIAL FOR TER­ROR­ISM AF­TER BAR BRAWL IN­VOLV­ING PO­LICE

Windsor Star - - WORLD -

MADRID The trial of seven men and one woman ac­cused of beat­ing up two po­lice of­fi­cers and their girl­friends two years ago in north­ern Spain opened Mon­day amid con­tro­versy be­cause of the ter­ror­ism charges brought against the de­fen­dants. Sup­port­ers of the ac­cused say the charges are dis­pro­por­tion­ate for what they con­sider a bar brawl. The fight at a bar in the small town of Al­sasua on Oct. 15, 2016, left one off-duty po­lice of­fi­cer with a bro­ken an­kle, ac­cord­ing to Civil Guard unions. Pros­e­cu­tors say the brawl should be pun­ished under the coun­try’s ter­ror­ism laws, and claim the at­tack­ers were mem­bers of Basque groups that tar­geted the off-duty of­fi­cers as part of their cam­paign to oust Span­ish se­cu­rity forces from Basque ar­eas. The goal is also shared by the militant sep­a­ratist group ETA. Ar­eas with a strong Basque iden­tity are grap­pling to over­come decades of vi­o­lence at the hands of ETA.

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