Basque Info News 10th-17th December
ETA admits responsibility for five attacks including the killing in France.ETA denounces the wild repression strategy started by the Spanish government which brought down the negotiation process last May.
Repressive measures against the pro-independence movement have reached serious levels. We will be looking back at this year’s facts and figures around repression.
Young Gorka Lupianez has denounced being tortured in the hans of the Spanish police.
- ETA warned that the Spanish authorities are trying to reopen the dirty war against Basques and remembered that the current Spanish Home minister was also involved in a dirty war campaign before in the 80’s.
ETA called upon the French and Spanish states to end strategies of denial of rights for the Basque Country. It also calle on the two States to stop deepening the repression campaign.
ETA denounced the role of the media as a net which constantly hides the roots of the political and armed conflict.
According to a statement sent to the pro independence newspaper Gara, the armed group vowed to act against "the forces and repressive apparatus of the Spanish state, wherever it may be."
ETA admitted responsibility for five attacks, including the killing of two undercover Spanish policemen in France earlier this month.
In a statement, ETA claimed "the execution" of the two officers on Dec. 1 in the southwestern French town of Capbreton, describing it as an "armed confrontation."
Raul Centeno and Fernando Trapero, working undercover in conjunction with French police, were gunned down by an ETA unit in broad daylight. Two allegad members of ETA have since been arrested.
Another extract of the statement, published on the Web site of Basque newspaper Gara on Friday, reminded that the armed group would "strike back against" the constant pressure against Basque militants.
In the latest attack an ETA bomb destroyed the Spanish Court buildings of Sestao, near Bilbao, last Saturday night.
The repressive measures against the pro-independence movement have hugely increased in the last 3 months.
As the Spanish government predicted after the end of the political negotiations, in the last 3 months there have been 165 arrests, 101 Basques have been imprisoned. Police raids have become a daily occurrence as well as claims of tortures from the police when in detention.
September started with news about the arrests of 4 Basque citizens in the French town of Cahors. They were accused of being members of ETA and it ends with the arrest of Gorka Lupianez who has been tortured and imprisoned last 12th December. The arrest of the whole of the national executive of Batasuna as well as of the Basque citizens accused in the 18/98 macro trial have been significant.
Demonstrations have been banned on a regular basis and police raids, check points arrests have become a regular occurrence.
The collective of Basque political prisoners has reached the number of 692 political prisoners. And 25 people have denounced being tortured while arrested by the Spanish police since September.
The prison conditions have significantly worsened as well. The Spanish government is refusing to release any Basque prisoner suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses. Currently there are 12 of them. The dispersal policy is also being further implemented.
Prisoners who have completed their full prison sentence also are being kept in jail as the Spanish government is refusing to release them.
Last week the Spanish general prosecutor also said that more than 100 Basque political refugees will be soon the target. These refugees have been living on the run in Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay, Cuba and Africa for many years now.
One of them, 71-year-old Ramon Sagarzazu, was arrested last week and released after a couple of days as his case was too old to be reopened.
In front of this bleak situation, the anti repression group Askatasuna has called on Basque citizens to mobilize.
It has accused the Spanish government of submitting the Basque country to a new repressive era to destroy the pro independence movement.
And in further repressive measures…
-144 pro-independence pubs and societies were closed down by the Spanish government a year and a half ago. Hundreds of people confronted the police but couldn’t prevent the closure of these premises. That was another of the numerous attacks suffered by the pro-independence movement while ETA held a ceasefire. Last week a high Spanish tribunal stated that these closings may have not been right according to the law. The defence lawyers have denounced once again the obstacles they have to face to do their job.
-State repression in the Basque Country has many different faces. 10 years ago a campaign called “Freedom for the Basque Country” filled the streets with hundreds of weekly picket lines. 10 years on there are hundreds of Basques are suffering the repression against that campaign. Many of them got fines for exercising their right to protest peacefully as the pickets used to be banned. For 10 years they have been paying up to 300 euro a month. Last week a new community platform was formed in Laudio, near Bilbao to campaign against this white repression and to claim the streets as a space of freedom of speech and reunion.
- Thousands of Basque citizens respond to the attack against the pro independence movement.
Last Thursday thousands of people took part in a walk out, to denounce the repression against the Basque pro independence movement.
Hundreds of mobilisations and a 60 minute walk out was the response of the Basque society against repression. It was originally called to protest against the arrests of the 18/98 macro trial, but it became an exemplar protest against repression in the Basque Country.
ARRESTS AND PRISONERS
Young Gorka Lupianez, has been sent to jail. The judge has also ordered to keep Gorka in prison incommunicado.
The Basque prisoner has denounced being tortured while in the hands of the Spanish police.
Gorka was arrested nearly 2 weeks ago and was kept incommunicado for 5 days during which he was tortured. The judge has also ordered to keep his file secret.
He is accused of being a member of the armed organization ETA, of possession of arms and of faking ID.
Haimar Hidalgo was also arrested of the Basque Spanish police, last Sunday. He has been imprisoned for 7 and a half year. The police also went to arrest Gaizka Ganan near Bilbao but was not at his home.
The Sheffield three will be sent back to Spain. That’s what the High court in London has decided.
Inigo Albisu, Zigor Ruiz and Ana Lopez were arrested in Sheffield last April following a euro warrant presented by the Spanish authorities. They are accused of being members of ETA.
The defence will have now 2 weeks to appeal the decision and try to overturn the decision in the House of Lords.
- The still legal pro-independence politicl party ANV, Basque Nationalist Action , has made clear at a few press conferences that they intend to contest the general election next March. Although Spanish authorities are trying to ban this party, ANV has made clear that they intend to fight the election with the proposal for a democratic framework for the Basque Country.
Among those gathered at the press coferences were members community groups, grassroots activists and local councillors. All of them leftists and nationalists. They explained why all of them came together and organised as the Basque National Action: “The independence option is the best way to protect our language, identity and culture because, we want to build our own model on the left, because independence is the future and it’ll bring freedom.”
-ANV, Basque Nationalist Action denounced the last fascist attack which took place last week in the southern Basque town of Tutera. The local Basque medium school was attacked once again. There have been many attacks like this in the last months. A protest will take place next Saturday.
-15,000 people attended a national rally in the middland town of Arrasate to protest against the construction of a High Speed Train (HST) railway in the Basque Country. They had to overcome many Spanish Guardia Civil police checkpoints to reach the town. For many years local groups have campaigned against this project. But in the last year protests have increased as the main works are about to start. This High Speed Train track is one of the main controversies going on in the Basque Country at the moment. Groups against it have denounced it as a monster of great social, economic and environmental impact as well as a lack of transparency and respect from authorities towards the will of Basque citizens.
6 people were arrested during the week in a protest. Many groups have been organised locally and attacks against the machinery used to build the railway have spread around the Basque Country.
-Thousands of people took part in a march in favour of autonomy in Baiona/Bayonne, northern Basque Country. Under heavy police surveillance the march took place peacefully.
Thousands of people took part in a march in favour of autonomy in Baiona/Bayonne, northern Basque Country. Under heavy police surveillance the march took place peacefully.
Under the French authority the northern part is not acknowledged as being the Basque country. In order to do so, people from various political believes, trade unionists, and other public people have come together to launch a campaign in favour of a Basque autonomy for the north.
This campaign and the autonomy in particular are not seen as a means in itself but as a tool towards the right to self determination.
-More than 150 delegates attended Ikasle Abertzaleak, the 5th Congreso of the Union of Basque nationalist students. Ikasle Abertzaleak is the largest students organization in the Basque Country and has been campaigning for students’ rights in schools and universities for almost 20 years. They defined new strategies to achieve a Basque National Education System and highlighted the importance for students to become a revolutionary subject to stop the capitalist education system promoted by the Bologna process of the EU.
-The second National Meeting of Victims of torture took place at the weekend in Lekunberri. 200 people took part in the conference. The conference aimed to do a yearly evaluation as well as looking at the political work that needs done. It also aimed at raising the profile of people who have been tortured.
During the conference speakers highlighted that torture is systematic for Basque citizens.
-One bank, a French police translator’s car and the pro-Spanish Labour Party’s offices in Elgoibar were attacked over the last few days.