30 May 2007
WE ARE BACK WITH GREAT GOOD NEWS FROM THE BASQUE COUNTRY
We want to apologize to all our readers after being two months without publishing any news. Technical problems didn't allow us to do it until today.
As you would imagine many and important things happened in the Basque Country in the last two months. We'll try to summarize them on the next couple of lines.
The best news came up from the last Sunday's council and provincial assemblies' elections in the south of the Basque Country.
But we'll start from where we left things. Beginning of April.
After the powerful rally organised by Batasuna attended by more than 20,000 people the left pro-independence did a new move, once again, to try to push ahead the process. A new party was presented: Abertzale Sozialisten Batasuna (Union of Patriot Socialists) and fulfilled all the requirements demanded by the fascist Parties' Law.
At the same time lists were organised to stand at the local council elections. 30,000 signatures were needed to be able to do so. In just two weeks 82,000 were collected proving the will of Basque people to have democratic elections.
The Spanish government's answer was quick and dramatic. 250 council elections Abertzale Sozialistak's platforms were banned. That move was understood as an attack again any kind of democratic process of resolution of the conflict and a lack of interest of the Spanish state to get involved in such.
The European Parliament Friendship for Democratic Resolution of Basque Conflict said:
"If we compare the Basque peace process with others in Europe such as Northern Ireland we see that no party was banned and all political positions and views were respected. This was crucial in establishing peace. Yet in the Basque Country it's possible that for the forthcoming elections a portion of Basque society will be denied the opportunity to express themselves politically."
Then ANV (Basque Nationalist Action, the old left pro-independence party who fought fascism in the 1936-1939 war)came up and said that they'd stand in elections to give voice to those banned and defend a political resolution to the conflict.
The Spanish government's response was the usual one and they got to ban 150 of the ANV's council and provincial lists.
The elections campaign was anything but a democratic one. ANV was marginalized, attacked, censured...everywhere but the strength of the left pro-independence and its activists overcame the obstacles and the results were spectacular: 187,000 votes.
Half of them were "illegal" and the "legal" ones provided the left abertzale 30 town majors and 720 councillors (half of them "illegal").
In the meantime 8 suspected members of ETA were arrested at the end of April and very badly tortured and 3 political refugees were arrested in Sheffield (England). Both attacks were considered as a an unprecedented move from the Spanish and British authorities.
The Sheffield Three are awaiting for trial in Belmarsh prison in London. They could be extradited to Spain in July.
ETA was interviewed by the Basque abertzale daily Gara where they stated that:
"If the attacks stop we are ready for a firm commitment to a violence-free scenario"
You can read the whole interview in English at: