EIGHT ON TRIAL FOR TERRORISM AFTER BAR BRAWL INVOLVING POLICE
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.