20 September 2007

Basque Autonomous police attacks demonstratiom

There was no margin to negotiations, neither the usual order to charge was heard. It sufficed that the demonstration arrived at the first line of the police cord so that the festival in the Boulevard of San Sebastian was finished and began the battle. It was an unequal fight: citizens with a simple banner set against armed agents that had loaded the rifles with plastic balls some seconds before: "Clack, clack", was clearly heard.

Only some few predicted what came later. The majority of the prior comments they opted for estimating that the Basque Harkis ,the collaborationist police, they would not be capable of charging, and even less using plastic balls, in a place packed of people that were going to support their prisoners... or to their oarsmen (day of boat races). Some and other they would finish united by the same indignation.

Up till then, the Boulevard was a festival, an incessant moving of brass band and of shirts of all the colours. But in the corner of the City Hall, the way in which the Ertzaintza was prepared to receive the demonstration could not pass unnoticed, more than 200 police officers composing two rows superimposed perfectly aligned. Only their eyes could be seen... and the rifles. "Then they will say that there are arguments", predicted with irony a senior nationalist. Of course, the reason that the Ministry of Interior gave to veto the demonstration -to avoid the possibility of incidents- came to be a joke of bad taste.

The hearts accelerated at 13.45 o'clock, when the Boulevard exploded in a single shout of growing intensity: "Presoak kalera, amnistia osoa". The banner carried by members of the former prisoners and pro-amnesty movement was being carried from the bandstand, rotated before the City Hall and driven forward to the barrier of Basque police officers. The command raised the hand, but hundreds of people continued advancing. The headings of the two groups touched, and there was no time for words: the police charged in two seconds, the Boulevard was a field of battle, with kicks to close range, crash of broken glasses, yells of panic and people of all ages rolling on the floor.

Tens of injured, young and old people, numerous arrested and four hours of pitched battle were the consequence of this serious violation of the fundamental right for freedom of expression , right that was violated and stamped on by the collaborationist police from PNV.


Askapena's Step by Step Bulletin.

With these lines, Askapena ends the August recess. We warmly greet our readers, we wish to find them with a renewed forces to keep on after the summer, and we encourage them to keep on devoting part of their time to us.

As for us, we renew the information commitment made to the people who receive, read or spread our "Step by Step". They give us an incentive to carry on. The new people who ask us to add their names to our mailing list confirm that our effort is not useless. Our "Step" reproduced in other informative nets reaffirm us in our aim. We will keep on contributing the experience of our people, and all their daily efforts. Our aim is an internationalist one, to share our process experience and analysis in case they are useful for other causes; your critics are also very useful for us. And, the main point, we try to establish internationalist relations on the basis of the daily fight, as a base of our mutual solidarity. Friends, the History belongs to us because we build it by our popular daily fight.

Regarding the Basque situation, the summer is about to end up has been a time of political turbulence. The base of these turbulence is the unsolved Basque question. The Spanish society, who has been dragging a chronic crisis, can not ignore its consequences. The next Steps will analyze this question in depth; today we will make just an approach.

PSOE's turbulent waters

The situation in Nafarroa produce an important crisis. The PSOE did not respect the people's will claiming a change. The PSOE prioritized the Estate interests, putting them before democracy. They ignored the Nafarroa society will, and the one of their own electors. The prioritized their Estate pacts with the PP, and with the system in order to keep the extreme right win UPN governing Nafarroa. As a result, the Spanish unity project become strengthen, but the Basque society realized the deep PSOE's dependence on the Spanish system. The Navarra Socialist Party made a fool of themselves, and their members feel frustrated and upset. Some voices claim more independence from state PSOE.

In their fight against the Basque nationalism, the PSOE encourage among their members belligerent attitudes, which now turn against themselves. The more belligerent against the Basque people groups do not allow the Socialist party to move an inch their from aggressive positions: for instance, Fernando Savater, and the Member of the European Parliament Rosa Diez are firmly against any approach but the military fight against ETA; they reject any attempt to dialogue with the nationalism, and so they have decided to break away from PSOE in order to create a new party.

PP's turbulent waters

Something similar happens to PP. Betting on fascism is not innocuous; at the end it contaminates the ones who do so. Aznar's obsessive effort to eliminate the Basque nationalism even at the price of eliminating the democratic principles finally contaminated the whole party which unconditionally followed him. The PP did not eliminate the Basque national conscience, but inside the party grew the most dictatorial and virulent styles. The leadership of the party is on the more reactionary hands who do not allow the party to get rid of this fascist burden. Any attempt inside the party (for instance, the ones made by the mayor of Madrid) to move towards center-right come up against opposition that block any attempt of internal democratization. The PP party has become a reactionary cavern.

PNV's turbulent waters

The aim of the bourgeois and collaborationist PNV is crystal clear: to keep their special bonds with the Estate bourgeoisie. This is what allowed the PNV during the last thirty years to be the best guarantor of the Imperialist interest in the Basque country. In return, they govern the Basque autonomous region (three Basque western provinces). PNV do not want any change towards sovereignty. Their harmful role in the process, that tried to solve the conflict with dialogue, made it very clear. Their positions made up with the more inflexible Spanish ones, so their work during the process involved asphyxiating the Basque Left who promoted a change in the democratic frame. The only clear aim of PNV is to keep and increase their power to rule the Basque self-governing region institutions.

How to get it? This is the question and the reason of their internal contradictions. The direction of the party believe that the best way to seduce the Basque society is to forget sovereignty messages and adopt a pragmatic attitude: to ally themselves with the Estate and with the constitutional sectors settled in the Basque Country (an strategy that did not have good result in last May elections). A sector of the party think that the best way to get the Basque society confidence is to keep the sovereignty message, which is more in keeping with the Basque will. To support this idea they affirm that president Ibarretxe got good results for his party supporting this idea against Madrid's ones. Both tendencies are no so different in the facts.

But the contradiction extends to the Basque government. The president and the two parties supporting him defend the idea of a referendum in order to make a kind of staging of the right to decide. This view conflicts with the PNV leadership who trys to avoid any unnecessary conflict with the Estate because for them the most important is a total collaboration with it.

Euskal Herria, September 3, 2007.

4 September 2007

Car bomb attack in Basque town of Durango


Whoever set off the bomb in Durango, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Bilbao, fled in a car and then detonated it in a vacant lot in the nearby town of Amorebieta-Etxano, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry office in the Basque capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz.

The blast caused serious damage to the Civil Guard station and residential barracks in Durango, shattering windows and damaging police cars parked outside, authorities said. Several nearby apartment buildings were also damaged.

The attack happened shortly after 3:15 a.m. (0115 GMT). There had been no warning, the Interior Ministry said.

Police believe the bomb contained some 80 kilograms (175 pounds) of explosives and was packed with shrapnel, the Spanish national news agency Efe said. It was not immediately known how many people were in the station at the time of the attack.

The injured officers were treated for cuts from flying glass, but were released from a hospital in a nearby town several hours later. ETA called the cease-fire in March 2006, but grew frustrated with a lack of government comitment in ensuing peace talks .

Britain orders extradition of three Basque citizens

A British judge ruled on Friday that three Basques acussed of being members of the Basque armed group ETA should be extradited to Spain to face terrorism charges, court sources said.

However, the ruling was immediately appealed and the three suspects were remanded in custody until the appeal can be heard, probably not until October or November at the earliest.

In a 27-page ruling, the judge, Caroline Tubbs, rejected arguments put forward by the defence counsel, Richard Gordon, that the three were being prosecuted for their political beliefs. She said they should be returned to Spain to face charges.

Ana Isabel Lopez, Zigor Ruiz and Inigo Albisu are accused by Spanish authorities of planning to set off a bomb in Spain's northern city of Santander. This have been compeltelly denied by them and their defense. They were arrested under a European warrant in the northern English city of Sheffield in April where they were living and working.