30 March 2007


The rally organized Saturday afternoon in Bilbao to demand "self-determination" and "amnesty" turned into a pitched battle. Basque Police charged with force on demonstrators, while several of them clashed with the police.

At least 22 demonstratorS were injured. Several of them were seen at the Basurto Hospital. An 81-aged woman fractured her pelvis. One of Batasuna's leaders, Pernando Barrena was moved to the hospital, while Eusebio Lasa had to pass the night in the hospital as consequence of a hard blow received to the head.

Two demonstrators were arrested, among whom the Outlawed Batasuna's member Joseba Permach. He was released before midnight.

Great tension

Just before the beginning of the rally, Basque police authorities said demonstrators they could not hold the rally, as banned by Spain's High Court. The rally was organized under the slogan "Hitza eta erabakia, lurraldetasuna eta aministia" ("Word and decision, territoriality and amnesty").

Seven police vans of the Basque Police and a helicopter blocked the beginning of the rally, in which participated outlawed Batasuna's spokesman Arnaldo Otegi and former spokesman of Gestoras Pro Amnistia Juan Mari Olano among others.

In front of the police cordon, demonstrators were shouting slogans such as "Bakerik ez, amnistiarik gabe" (No peace without aministy), "Euskal presoak, etxera" (Basque prisoners home) and slogans supporting the Basque prisoner Iñaki de Juana Chaos. A group of demonstrators were carrying a banner with the slogan "Self-determination. Amnesty."

Basque police deployed a cordon to prevent the rally and finally charged on the demonstrators. Several demonstrators, journalists and policemen were injured. Ambulances came to see them.

Pernando Barrena, spokesman of Basque outlawed party Batasuna, said today the brutal charge of the Basque Police during Saturday's banned rally in Bilbao was "the great contribution" of the Basque nationalist party PNV and its leader Imaz to make feasible the process towards a solution.

During a statement on Radio Euskadi, Barrena considered Josu Jon Imaz, leader of the Basque nationalist party PNV, as "political responsible" of what happened during the banned rally in Bilbao.

According to him, PNV leader Imaz "send a clear message to the socialist government in Madrid" about "how to deal with the Basque nationalist movement."

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