Spain is this week commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the kidnapping and terrorist murder of a young Popular Party councillor in the Basque Country: Miguel Ángel Blanco.

Three ETA terrorists snatched him on Thursday, July 10, 1997, while Blanco, a resident of the village of Ermua, was on his way to work in the nearby town of Eibar.

That same evening, they demanded ETA prisoners be moved back to jails in the Basque Country. The Spanish government had implemented a policy of spreading them around the rest of the country.

A 4 p.m. deadline for the Saturday was set and the PP government of José María Aznar warned that were ETA prisoners not to be moved back to the region, Blanco would be executed.

Villagers in Ermua, and Spaniards across the rest of the country, reacted immediately.

Carlos Totorika (Socialist Party), the Mayor of Ermua—then and now—told Antena 3 over the weekend that Blanco's kidnapping was the last straw: "We had had enough of so much fear, so much paralysis, and so much pain".

He called for the inhabitants to congregate in the square to protest against the terrorists.

"We were all at home, angry, but we weren't doing anything. The protests let each one of us get over our fear and feel more dignity", Totorika said.

The whole country anxiously waited for news of Blanco's safe release.

The Saturday deadline arrived and the central government in Madrid did not cave to the terrorists' demand, so they drove him to the village of Lasarte-Oria, near San Sebastian, forced him on to his knees and shot him in the head.

Blanco was found, not yet dead, by a passer by and rushed to hospital. He died the following day.

That particular terrorist crime marked a turning point in Spain's fight against ETA. Spaniards filled city streets in protest.

Two of the three terrorists were tried for Blanco's murder in 2006, and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

One of them, Francisco Javier García Gaztelu, alias "Txapote", was allowed out of jail for an hour in May to visit his elderly father. That judicial decision was criticised by the public prosecutor on Monday, for not taking terror victims' into proper consideration.

The Popular Party accused the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and Podemos of "moral baseness" for not commemorating the anniversary of the death of the councillor in town halls they control.

Madrid City Hall, led by Manuela Carmena (Ahora Madrid), decided not to do anything special for the occasion, so as not to highlight any particular terror victim. She has agreed to join a commemorative gathering outside City Hall on Wednesday.

PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez, writing in El Independiente on Tuesday, wrote that his party had "always" stood up to ETA terrorism.

"It is impossible to forget those days of prior anguish faced with the kidnapping and death threat, which was carried out 48 hours later with vileness and cowardice."

On Tuesday morning, PP spokesman Javier Maroto said during a TV interview that "no one" was suggesting one terror victim was more important than any other.

"[Ermua] was the inflection point where people stopped being afraid and felt enough anger to come out on to the streets and say 'enough is enough'. That is what we want to celebrate, without distinction between victims."