AGAIN, MADRID has taken to the streets in protest against Zapatero's anti-terror policies:
The rally is organized by the conservative Popular Party, now in opposition, and follow 65 smaller demonstrations across the country's cities yesterday evening. They're all against Zapatero's decision to allow one of ETA's biggest killers, Iñaki de Juana Chaos, to serve his reduced sentence at home after being in a hunger strike for about 100 days demanding his release. Of course the term 'hunger strike' is an euphemism: during the last weeks he was in a Madrid hospital with a more than lax regime for visits and his girlfriend staying with him. The police officers custodying him have publicly complained they were ordered not to search her, so who knows how many power-bars or other food she sneaked in. Anyway, Zapatero took the measure for 'humanitarian reasons' alleging he was in a very bad physical state, though it didn't seem an obstacle for him to take long 40-minute showers with her girlfriend (if you know what I mean) until the last day before he was sent home. Or leaving the hospital walking, as he did. Again, it's the police officers who say it, not me.
Many people, not only from the PP, view this as the last straw, as a measure in favor of a terrorist who just said he doesn't feel any remorse for killing and who belonged to a terrorist organization that just killed 2 inocent people in the Barajas airport bombing late last year. Even though Zapatero said then that he would stop negotiating with ETA, the truth is that soon after he has declared his intention to keep doing so. That's probably why today's protest is probably even bigger than the several million-man marches in recent months. Madrid public regional TV says it's 2.2 million, but Madrid regional government is PP so they're probably stretching the figures a little. In any event, it's another impressive gathering.
It's going to be interesting to see how the Zapatero government will react. I don't have much hope that he'll listen, though. His party went to the streets day in and day out against the Iraq war in 2003 when they were in opposition, saying it was a "genuine expression of popular feelings," but they have suddenly developed a pro-establishment view that reminds my to my late grandmother. The last few days, anticipating a big turnout in today's rally, they have been labeling the PP as extremists and agitators. Go figure.
They've also been using all kinds of rhetorical gimmicks, saying that the PP was the first democratic party that has refused to back the government in their anti-terrorist fight (what fight, some people asked). Or saying that when Aznar and the PP were in power they also sent ETA terrorists home for humanitarian reasons. What they don't say is that those terrorists Aznar sent home had cancer, AIDS or some other serious illness and were in a terminal state. In short, they were sent home to die, not to eat paella and get well. They weren't received as victorious heroes as De Juana was last week, but by grieving relatives who were accompanying his family member in his last days. Their health problems were not self-inflicted, and it wasn't up to them whether they would still have those problems or not. De Juana went by his own will into a hunger strike asking to be released or else. And the Spanish government simply caved in in order to not make ETA mad and keep negotiating with some bastards who had recently killed two people.
And that's why there's hundreds of thousands of people in the streets today. Again.
UPDATE. I've been writing fast because I wanted the post to go up as soon as possible; I'm noticing several style issues, but I think it's better not to re-do anyting now.
UPDATE II. Gateway Pundit has much more, and Toasted Bread is compiling reports of today's events.