THOUSANDS of people stood in silence across Spain yesterday to protest against the killing of a police officer in a car bombing blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA. The blast overshadowed Wednesday's confirmation vote for the recently re-elected Basque regional president who is seeking to halt more than three decades of separatist violence. A car bomb blew up Luis Ortiz, a 33-year-old policeman in a residential suburb on Tuesday evening as he tried to clear people from the area after warning calls in the name of ETA. “They have cut short a human life and they have killed a citizen who, by profession, worked for the safety and security of all,” Juan Maria Atutxa, president of parliament in the Basque Country of northern Spain, said in the opening speech of the investiture.

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