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When the Spanish take to the streets, they don’t beat around the bush. Hundreds of thousands of them commonly congregate to show support for their chosen political cause or to celebrate the latest championship win by their favourite soccer team.

The Spanish version of the #MeToo movement recently got its wings after a judge deemed the sexual assault of an 18-year-old woman by five men during the 2016 running of the bulls in Pamplona did not constitute rape. The case sparked outrage as the social media feeds of the accused men known as the “wolf pack” revealed the enduring machismo in Spanish society. Massive protests followed the judge’s April 26 ruling. A culture shift is in the air.

Indeed, responding to the #MeToo protests seems to have supplanted fighting Catalonian separatists as the central government”s top priority. After months of political stasis since last October’s inconclusive (and illegal, in Madrid’s eyes) referendum on Catalonian independence, fatigue has taken hold as the current impasse drags on.

Indeed, last week, it was sports, not politics, that drew thousands into the streets of the Catalonian capital to celebrate the double victory of FC Barcelona. It recently clinched both a Spanish league championship and the Copa del Rey, or King’s Cup. Catalonian separatists may hate the monarchy, but even they like a good soccer parade, especially one with FC Barcelona superstars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

What no one was celebrating anywhere in Spain last week, however, was the May 3 announcement by the Basque terrorist group ETA that it had officially disbanded. For almost five decades, until ETA declared a definitive ceasefire in 2011, the group responsible for more than 800 political assassinations and civilian deaths trapped Spain in a constant state of fear. Spaniards were in no mood to celebrate its official demise.

“ETA, Basque social revolutionary organization for national liberty, wishes to inform the Basque people of the end of its trajectory,” the group announced in an audio recording made by one of its most notorious fugitives, Josu Ternera. “ETA emerged from the Basque people into which it now dissolves itself.”

The announcement was promptly denounced by politicians of all stripes – except for the far-left Podemos party, which sent a delegation to attend an official ETA-disbandment ceremony – as an attempt to whitewash history. “ETA disappears, but not all the damage or irreparable pain it has caused,” Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an address to the nation.

While ETA was created in reaction to the repressive regime of General Francisco Franco, who suppressed the Basque culture and language until his death in 1975, the vast majority of the violence perpetrated by group occurred in the post-Franco democratic era. Rather than seeking change through the ballot box – its political wing was formally outlawed in 2003 – ETA’s members continued down the path of violence long after the 1978 Constitution granted enhanced autonomy to the Basque region and moderate Basque politicians successfully pushed Madrid for more. The current head of the Basque regional government, Basque Nationalist Party leader Inigo Urkullu, declared after last week’s announcement: “ETA should never have existed.”

Indeed, almost all of the violence committed by ETA in the decade until the 2011 ceasefire had nothing to do with Basque independence, but rather was aimed at pressuring the Spanish government to free ETA members from prison or move them to jails in the Basque region. Madrid never budged an inch, parking nearly 300 convicted ETA members in dozens of prisons in southern Spain and France to keep them as far away from one another, and their families, as possible.

ETA’s move to officially disband was widely interpreted by Spanish experts as an attempt by the group to obtain leniency for those still in prison or on the run. Mr. Urkullu favours moving convicted ETA members to prisons in the Basque country as a gesture of reconciliation. But Mr. Rajoy insists ETA must get nothing in return for disbanding and that the state will continue to prosecute ETA members allegedly responsible for more than 300 outstanding murders.

“Today is not a day for celebration,” Mr. Rajoy said in his speech on ETA’s demise. “It is a day to remember and honour those who are no longer with us.”

Most Spaniards, it seems, agreed.

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