The Australian newspaper The Age is the first one to tell the English speaking world about this dark day for democracy on this note: Law passed to curtail Basque plan:
Law passed to curtail Basque plan
December 20, 2003
Spain's parliament passed a new law on Thursday giving courts the power to jail the Basque region's Premier if he goes ahead with a plan to call a referendum on greater autonomy from Madrid.
Opposition MPs boycotted the vote in protest but the new law was passed by the centre-right ruling Popular Party, which has an absolute majority, amid angry scenes in the lower chamber.
The legislation aims to stop Basque Premier Juan Jose Ibarretxe pursuing a plan to increase Basque home rule by creating a "status of free association" with Spain that would be very near independence. He says that would end decades of violence by separatist guerilla group ETA.
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