Interview with Carlos Totorika, former mayor of Ermua

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Totorika was mayor of Ermua when ETA murdered Miguel Ángel Blanco, a PP councilor in that city. He has said that crime was a before and after, “we overcame the fear of taking to the streets.”

The afternoon of July 12, 1997, Carlos Totorika got the phone call telling him ETA had kidnapped Michelangelo Whitea native of Ermua and a PP councilor in the city council where he was mayor for the PSE-EE.

As he explained in an interview on Radio Euskadi this morning, “from minute 0 we feel the need to yell, to yell ‘ETA no’, that we wanted to be free and that ETA had to respect plurality, which it never respected. We decided that we would not remain silent”. Therefore, as soon as they heard about the kidnapping, they started organizing the demonstrations; the mayor remembers that the reaction of the citizens was “surprising”, because for the first time, “instead of paralysis, brought mobilization”.

And it’s that Blanco’s kidnapping assumed a before and after in the answer to ETA promotions. “Before, very few of us started concentrating, but after Ermua, we overcome fear The people overcame their fear and were encouraged to take to the streets, and they started to feel more comfortable as people,” which, according to Totorika, helped to make the move against ETA more and more explicit.

The execution came after the deadline set by ETA. Miguel Ángel Blanco was found in Lasarte-Oria with two shots to the head. “It was a very poignant moment and although he hadn’t died yet and had a thread of life, I used the term murder when I communicated it to the public from the balcony, that was murder.” He says he still remembers the horror and fear on the citizens’ faces.

That afternoon, “all that energy” concentrated in the streets of Ermua, became a “long and important” demonstration, from Ermua to neighboring Eibar, and back to the city.

He explains that if something was clear to him then, in response, the Herriko van Ermua: “Violence was the opposite of what could solve problems. You had to make a difference with those who used violence.”

Radio Euskadi will be offering special content throughout the week under the title Euskadi 97, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the murder of Miguel Ángel Blanco by ETA and the consequences it had for society and the social and political future.

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Source: EITB

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