Basque separatist group ETA - key dates in history

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Basque separatist group ETA - key dates in history

Paris (AFP) - The following are dates in the history of the Basque separatist group ETA, which said it would hand over all its remaining weapons on Saturday.

The group has been blamed for the death of 829 people in a campaign of violence that totalled 43 years.

1959: Creation of Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), meaning Basque Homeland and Liberty, by Basque nationalist students inspired by revolutionary movements in the Third World.

1960s: Initially an organisation promoting culture and identity in the Basque country straddling the French-Spanish border, ETA mutates into a paramilitary group.

1968: Policeman is shot dead in the Spanish Basque town of San Sebastian, becoming the first killing to be officially attributed to ETA.

1973: ETA car bomb kills Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco, a key figure in the Franco military dictatorship.

1977: Spain's first democratic government after Franco's death declares amnesty for political prisoners, including detained ETA members.

1979: Spain gives autonomy to Spanish Basque country.

1980: Bloodiest year in ETA's campaign, with 92 dead.

1983: Emergency of shadowy death squads called GAL (Antiterrorist Liberation Groups), later linked to the Spanish interior ministry, which begin campaign of assassination of ETA figures. Twenty-eight are killed over the next four years.

1987: Twenty-one people are killed in a car bomb in Barcelona, northeastern Spain, in ETA's bloodiest single attack.

1997: Miguel Angel Blanco, a young local politician for the conservative People's Party, is kidnapped by ETA and subsequently murdered. His killing sparks mass protests against ETA.

1998: ETA declares unilateral and unlimited truce, which it calls off in late 1999 after breakdown of talks with the government.

2003: ETA's political wing, Batasuna, is banned.

2006: ETA announces a "permanent ceasefire" which ends within months with a bomb attack at Madrid airport in which two people are killed.

2008: Major blow to ETA with arrests of senior members, including military chief Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, nicknamed "Txeroki".

2009: ETA carries out its last attacks on Spanish soil. In March 2010 a French policeman in the Paris area is killed in a car chase.

2011: On October 20 2011, ETA announces the "definitive halt to (its) armed activity" and proposes disarmament in exchange for an amnesty for ETA prisoners. The Spanish government rejects the proposal.

2017: ETA announces it will hand over all its remaining weapons on Saturday April 8, describing itself as a "disarmed organisation."