MADRID, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people demonstrated in the Spanish capital city of Madrid on Sunday against last week's decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to overturn the so-called "Parot Doctrine."
The demonstration was organized by the Association of Victims of Terrorism (AVT) under the banner "Justice and not Vengeance" (Justicia y no Venganza), against the ECHR ruling which means that dozens of prisoners, the majority, but not all of them, members of Basque separatist group ETA will leave prison earlier than expected.
The Parot Doctrine, which was introduced in 2006, states that time off for good behavior, work carried out in prison, etcetera, is to be discounted from the total sentence originally handed to these prisoners, some of whom are responsible for over 20 deaths in terrorist attacks. Some of these terms can be of hundreds or even thousands of years.
The rule was also applied retroactively with some prisoners who had actually been released being called back to complete their sentences.
However, the decision of the ECHR means the time has to be deducted from the maximum jail term permitted by the Spanish penal code, which is just 30 years, meaning prisoners could be expected to be released before serving 30 years behind bars, and stated it could not be applied retroactively.
This has already seen ETA member Ines del Rio released from prison last week, as well as a convicted rapist, while around 50 other ETA members currently serving long prison terms can also expect to be released in the near future as the result of the European ruling, which the government of Mariano Rajoy has reluctantly had to accept.
Prominent members of the ruling Popular Party, such as Gonzalo Pons, Javier Arenas, Carlos Floriano, Ana Botella, the Mayor of Madrid, Ignacio Gonzelez, the President of the Madrid Autonomous Community and former Madrid Community President, Esperanza Aguirre, were all present at Sunday's demonstration, which organizers claimed was attended by 200,000 people.
Some PP members had to endure insults from the more hard-line members of the crowd, who called them "cowards," and "traitors," but the strongest criticism was reserved for Rajoy, whose condition as leader of the Spanish government meant he could hardly be expected to be present in a demonstration which to all intents and purposes is against a decision taken by the European Court.
Banners with the phrase "Rajoy, traitor," were visible, while the phrase "Rajoy puppet, you are going to vote for ETA," was also heard from part of the crowd, while the organizers had to ask for calm on more than one occasion.
Meanwhile the President of the AVT, Angeles Pedraza made a speech in which she felt the government had let the victims of ETA down: "We have renounced any type of vengeance because of confidence in the State and all we ask of the State is one thing: Justice, complete and in capital letters."
"We have the right to win and to call ourselves winners in the fight of democracy against terror. The end of ETA should be an end with winners and losers," she concluded.