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Following a massive protest march against violence by Basque separatists Saturday, influential politicians in Spain's Basque region blamed the government for the resurgence of attacks by the gunmen.

Xabier Arzalluz, head of the region's governing Basque Nationalist Party, said Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar had "done nothing" to encourage the separatist organization called ETA to uphold last year's cease-fire.

Instead, Aznar's government had "placed sticks in the spokes of the peace process," Arzalluz said in a speech before thousands of followers in the Basque capital of Vitoria on Sunday.

ETA, whose name is a Basque-language acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom, is fighting for an independent state that would straddle the western Spanish-French border.

It ended a 14-month unilateral cease-fire in December, saying the peace process was going nowhere. Since then it has claimed responsibility for 12 killings.

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