SPAIN: Death in the North

Not since Francisco Franco's death last November had the new regime of King Juan Carlos faced a grimmer spectacle of unrest than it did last week. The northern Basque province of Alava was in a vicious, rebellious mood. The provincial capital of Vitoria was completely shut down, and the industrial city's 180,000 inhabitants seethed with bitterness. Riot police sent in by the national government had shot dead three young demonstrators outside one of Vitoria's churches; at least 100 more citizens were wounded in the melee.

In unprecedented defiance of Madrid, Alava's provincial authorities declared themselves "profoundly disgusted by the government's...

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