26 March 2008


Basque Info 18th of March (and brief report on Basque National Day; more coming up next week)

Headlines :

- A new show trial is about to start against Basque activists. The third of its kind.

- Basque young people celebrate the National Youth Encounter.

- Thousands and thousands of Basques celebrate their National Basque day, Aberri Eguna.

- A new show trial is about to start. On April 21st, 27 Basques will be called to court in Madrid for being members of the pro Amnesty movement.
Following the political trials against the youth movement Segi and against social and political activists, a new trial is about to start.
Instigated by the Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon, this time members of the pro-amnesty movement will be tried for their anti repression work.

According to the accused, the Spanish government is using old recipes to destroy the struggle of the Basque Country. But this will be in vain as they haven’t managed to do so, so far.

Special courts, killings, brutal torture, the dirty war, arrests in mass, dispersal of political prisoners, the banning of political parties, lifelong sentences, refusal to release terminally ill prisoners, all these have been implemented with the intention of killing the Basque Country. But none of this has worked. The anti repressive work carried out by Basques is as old as repression itself. The pro amnesty movement has carried out the work and will continue to do so.

-More than 2,500 young people took part in different events in around 90 cities and towns all over the Basque Country to launch this year’s Easter Youth Encounter Gazte Topagunea. The first one was celebrated in 1996. Every two years around 20,000 young pro-independence people gather for four days full of events from political debates, workshops, to music and sport.
For four days the Basque pro-independence revolutionary youth lived in independence and socialism trying to portray the future Basque Country of their dream and which they are fighting for.
MOre information on next Basque Info bulletin.

Last Sunday Basques celebrated the National Basque Day or Aberri Eguna.

A call for a united Aberri Eguna was made last February by many citizens from different social sectors and from different parts of the Basque Country. The response has been very positive and many members have joined the initiative for a united Basque National day. Udalbiltza the Council of mayors has also called on all councillors and mayors to join the initiative.

According to the organizers, the majority of Basque society is in favour of the acknowledgment of the Basque Country as a nation, in favour of territoriality and the right to self determination.

The slogan for the Aberri Eguna was “We are a nation, seven provinces in one. In favour of self determination”. The march left from Irun and crossed the border to the north of the Basque country to end in Hendaia.

More information on next Basque Info bulletin


The pro independence movement looses its only seat in the local elections in the North of the Basque Country despite increasing its share of the vote.

Euskal herria Bai the coalition of Basque parties lost its only representative to the local French General Council in Pau.

Jean Michel Galant, Euskal Herria Bai candidate won his seat in 2001 but was not able to keep it. Last Sunday the second round of the French local elections took place. Galant was deprived of his seat following a side deal between centre right politicians.

Although the Basque platform has no representatives in the General Council the elections have been very positive and Euskal herria Bai has had a historical increase in votes. They got around the 15% of the total vote in the first round celebrated the previous week.
Also, for a better understanding of the history of the pro independence movement in the North of the Basque Country next Friday a night for debates, exhibitions video showings and a popular dinner have been organized.
The aim of the night is to review the last 50 years of the pro independence movement in the North of the Basque country and to look at the future.

- The pro-independence movement sees the victory of abstention and the request for change.

The pro independence movement has done an evaluation of the election results in the South of the Basque Country. The last elections took place on the 9tof March in the Spanish State and the pro independence movement was banned from standing any party at the election.
A call to boycott the election was followed by over 185 thousand Basques.

According to the pro independence movement, Basque society does not need to be looking at Madrid or Paris. And the ones who do, have ended up with very bad election results.
That has been one of the conclusions of the election results in the South of the Basque Country.
These elections have shown the need to forget about party political interests and the need to focus on acting as a country.

Parties that have been focusing on Madrid and Paris have lost out in these elections. The most obvious example being the substantial loss of the Nationalist Party PNV.
The pro independence movement has also made it clear that there are only two ways to continue. Either to continue in the conventional way by repeating the fraud of 30 years, or to go forward with radical political change. The proposal made by the pro independence movement for a conflict resolution process remains on the table.


- Basque Political prisoner Daniel Dergi has been released after completing his full sentence of 12 years in the French jails.

Daniel who is originally from a small town in the North of the Basque Country was released last Thursday, following a request for remission being accepted.
However, Daniel will not be allowed to comeback home as the French authorities have banned him from entering some of the departments including the Basque Country. He will be living in the French department of Haute Marne at hundreds of miles from home.

Two other prisoners have also seen their sentences extended after fully doing their time. Ander Mitxelena who finished his sentence in February will now have to stay in prison for another 6 years until 2014. And Felix Zabarte another Basque political prisoner is in the same situation.

Prisoner Inma Pacho also got 13 extra years added to her prison sentence. She has been in jail for 17 years and ended fully serving her time last week.
The Spanish Special Court has been implementing its new so-called Parot doctrine which is being used against Basque prisoners. Basque prisoners are actually getting life prison sentences. This is a new strategy to break Basque prisoners.

Many other prisoners have also been transferred to other new prisons in the last week.
The anti repression group Askatasuna, has denounced the cruel treatment that Basque political prisoners are enduring. The group has compared these conditions to the ones in Guantanamo Bay and have called on Basque citizens to mobilise in defence of the prisoners.

Hodei Ijusrko was arrested in Irunea/ Pamplona, last Saturday, by the local navarrese police. He is accused of a petrol bomb attack.
Hodei had to be taken to hospital due to injuries caused by the police during the arrest.. Yesterday he was sent to prison accused of being a member of Segi, the banned pro-independence youth movement.
The anti-repression group Askatasuna denounced the arrest and accused the Navarrese police of getting involved in the political repression. Protests in support of Hodei and to denounce the arrest took place in Irunea and Etxarri Aranatz.

- Women denounce the attack of the police on the International Women’s Day march in Iruna.

On March the 8th while 3000 women were celebrating International Women’s Day in Iruna Pamplona, the police attacked the crowd indiscriminately with batons and plastic bullets.

Militants who had been celebrating International Women’s day couldn’t believe the attack of the police.
A 20 year had to be hospitalised after the police broke her nose.

Organisers highlighted that patriarchy was armed with plastic bullets this year. They also expressed their concern towards domestic violence cases, wondering what way condemnations will be dealt with.

- The group against torture TAT has denounced the passive attitude of the prosecution in the case of Maite Orue.
A police, who is accused of torturing Maite Orue, refused to answer questions in court last Thursday. The prosecution also did not bother asking the accused any questions to the which is what TAT has denounced.
The State Lawyer has also said that he will contest the questions.

-Last Thursday a rally was organised in Irunea/Pamplona to remember Anjel Berrueta in the fourth anniversary of his death.

Anjel Berrueta was a local baker who was killed by a Spanish policeman and his son after he refused to put up a poster against ETA in the aftermath of the Madrid bombings.
The Spanish government accused ETA of planting the bombs that killed hundreds of Spanish citizens in Madrid.

Following a huge hunt against Basques by the media Anjel was killed. He was the first victim. The next day Kontxi Sanchez died in Hernani when she was attending a protest against Anjel’s killing. Demonstrators were attacked by the Basque Spanish police and they injured Kontxi. She died in hospital a few hours later.

Four years on Anjel’s family is still being threatened and harassed. In a letter read by his widow she explained that the only thing that the family want is peace and justice. They asked the politicians to sit for dialogue and negotiation and to resolve the conflict. According to Anjel’s wife, this would be the best tribute to Anjel and other victims.

-71 years ago 100 Basque volunteers were killed in the Spanish region of Asturias. They were killed by Spanish pro-Franco forces while fighting for Basque freedom. Last weekend, after more than seven decades, members of the Basque Science Society Aranzadi found the remains of Candido Saseta the Basque Army Comdanding officer. He was a member of the left pro-independence Basque Nationalist Action/ANV party - the same party that was banned last month by the Spanish government and prevented from standing on elections. The decision has been seen by many as a shameful act and an attack on democracy after the long history of the party in defence of freedom.

-A new community group was launched last week in the Basque capital of Irunea/Pamplona. Its name is Sasoia (Good Health) and is formed by left pro-independence pensioners and retired people. Their aim is to work for independence along with other groups and campaign in favour of decent living conditions for the elderly.

- The Basque train company Eusko tren has been attacked for supporting a high speed train project.
An anonymous caller took responsibility for the attack that took place between two small towns in the South of the Basque Country.

Eusko Tren currently supports a project for a high speed train going through the Basque Country. A huge part of the Basque population is against the project which will only benefit a few and will destroy the Basque landscape.
The anonymous caller made it clear that the attack had nothing to do with ETA and was a protest coming from the people.

12 March 2008


Basque Info 11th March.

Headlines :

- ETA kills a former Spanish Labour Party councillor on the eve of the elections in the South of the Basque Country.

- On election day, despite no political representation, the pro-independence movement manages to keep its strength and say stop to the state of exception imposed by the Spanish state.

- And in the North of the Basque Country, the pro independence movement has increased its vote in a spectacular way.

- Police attack marches organised for International Women’s Day.

-ETA kills a former Spanish labour party councillor on the eve of the elections

Last Friday, less than 48 hours before opening the polls ETA shot dead a Spanish Labour Party member in the Basque town of Arrasate/Mondragon. Isaias Carrasco had been a local councillor until 2003 but didn’t get re-elected in 2007. He had recently decided not use bodyguards.

Friday’s killing has been ETA’s first operation of this kind in the Basque Country since 2003. 5 years ago in the same way, ETA killed a Labour Party councillor in Orio. In the last couple of months ETA has also blown up two Spanish Labour Party offices in the Basque Country.

Last week ETA called Basques to boycott and abstain at the Spanish general elections. The armed organisation also waned of a new period of repression from the Spanish government which has already and will continue after the elections.

Pro-Spanish political parties called citizens to vote in mass after the ETA’s attack. Hundreds of people took part in demonstrations against the attack and some tensions rose when the Spanish right-wing Popular Party politicians came to show support.

In a statement released a few hours after the killing, Batasuna, the banned pro-independence party said that this death shows the crude political and armed conflict in the Basque Country. Batasuna said that this action shows that a resolution to the conflict needs to be a priority for all political organisations.

Batasuna emphasized the need to look at the causes of the conflict. It also highlighted that Batasuna has already made real and meaningful proposal to resolve the conflict. Batasuna also regretted that some others keep trying to deviate the focus of the issue.

Finally Batasuna reaffirmed their commitment to continue working for a situation where all rights of all Basque citizens will be respected.


- On election day, despite no political representation, the pro-independence movement manages to keep its strength and say stop to the state of exception imposed by the Spanish state.

- The victory of abstention from Basque pro independence voters,
- The victory of the Spanish labour party in the autonomous community of the Basque Country,
- And the failure of the Basque Nationalist party to maintain its seats are the key results of last weekend’s elections.

A call for an active abstention from the part of the Basque pro-independence movement gave excellent results at the weekend.

All Basque pro-independence parties were banned from standing in last weekend’s elections in the South of the Basque Country.

With no party to vote to, the pro-independence movement called on people for an active abstention which had excellent results.

About 2,5 million people had an opportunity to vote in last Sunday’s general elections in the South of the Basque Country.

The 540,000 votes gained by the Spanish labour party and the 185,000 votes retained by the pro-independence movement, have made these two sectors the winners of the Southern Basque elections.

There were also losers. In a historic way, the Basque Nationalist Party has lost 25% of its vote which is 120,000 votes less, making the PNV the second strongest party after the Spanish Labour Party in the Basque Country. And the smaller parties have also been squeezed out.

As to the pro-independence movement, it has retained its strength against all odds. By refusing to cast their vote Basque citizens have said stop to the state of exception imposed of the Basque country and yes to a democratic solution of the political conflict. It can be said that there is a strong core of around 200,000 votes in the south of the Basque Country for the left pro-independence movement.

Despite the end of the ceasefire and the negotiation process last year, the increase of repression against the pro-independence movement and an anti abstention call from most political parties, the pro-independence movement has managed to keep its strength.

Reaction of pro-independence movement.

Marian Beitialarrangoitia, pro-independence candidate, who was prevented from standing in the election, said that the high percentage of abstention shows that these elections have not been normal elections. She went on to describe these elections as the most anti-democratic ones in the last while.

Election day was also marked by the killing of a former Labour Party Councilor by ETA on Friday. Political analysts would argue that the killing actually helped the Spanish Labour Party’s vote out in the Basque Country.

Election day was also marked by protests, rallies and sabotages.

Although the media tried very hard to broadcast a normal election day, the reality was very different. Pickets, sabotages and different types of actions to protest against the state of exception imposed on the Basque Country were the reality.
The police presence was also significant in all protests and rallies. Basque citizens were threatened, attacked and over a dozens people were arrested. 225 Basques were also identified by the police in protests and rallies and 50 people may be charged with obstructing elections.

Protests and rallies were also attacked by the police and people were injured.
Hundreds of sabotages also took place throughout the Basque Country. Motorways closed, polling stations attacked, voting papers missing, boxes destroyed and many other protest actions were organized to prevent and protest against this anti democratic elections.

-And in the North of the Basque Country, the pro independence movement has increased its vote in a spectacular way.

The local and municipal elections in the North of the Basque Country have been very positive for the pro-independence movement who increased his vote in a 41% making it up to an overall of 15% of the votes.

In a coalition of different Basque pro-independence parties, Euskal Herria Bai contested the elections in the North of the Basque Country.

The French authorities have not banned the pro-independence parties in the North of the Basque country. This has allowed Batasuna alongside other Basque parties to stand on elections.

The pro independence parties under the Euskal Herria Bai ticket will therefore have an opportunity to be present in the second round of the elections this coming weekend.


-Spanish Police attack marches organised for International Women’s Day.

Last Saturday was International Women’s Day and as every year demonstrations were called in the Basque Country. Thousands took to the street in lots of cities and towns across the Basque Country.

In the capital, Irunea/Pamplona, the demonstration was banned by authorities. It was therefore replaced by a popular dinner. At the end of the dinner 3,000 people gathered in a parade with music and street animation. It was then when the Spanish police appeared and charged brutally against women, men and children.

One woman had to be taken to hospital and a 15 year-old also got his nose broken.

The pro-independence movement denounced the hypocrisy of the authorities. While they allowed protests against ETA’s killing they attacked peaceful parades in favour of women’s rights.

- The two young Basques arrested by the Basque Spanish police last week are released without charges.

Last week we informed you of the case of two young Basques who were arrested by the Basque-Spanish police. They were portrayed by the police authorities and the media as some of “the most wanted terrorists”.
They were released without charges a few days after their arrest.

The two Basque youths were actually waiting for a date to present themselves at the Spanish Special Court in Madrid. The Court actually refused to hear them on 3 occasions. This when the media and the police criminalization started. The case shows once again the vicious work of the police and the press against Basques.

The anti-repression group Askatasuna denounced that these detentions came after the young Gorka Lupianez was brutally tortured last December.

-Three relatives of a Basque political prisoner had a road accident on their way to a visit in a prison in Madrid. The three passengers were taken to hospital. Thousands of friends and relatives travel hundreds of miles every weekend to see their loved ones. 730 Basque political prisoners are scattered in more than 100 jails across France and Spain.

-Once again last week, around 50 towns and cities in the Basque Country saw vigils and picket lines in support of the Basque political prisoners. The largest were in Gasteiz/Vitoria and (523 people), Irunea/Pamplona (310 people), Donostia/San Sebastian (230) and Hernani (200). These are weekly gatherings and have been organised for more than 20 years.

-The Association of European lawyers denounce the situation of Basque political prisoners.

More than 300 European lawyers met recently in the Italian city of Pisa to discuss the current situation in prisons throughout Europe, prisoners rights and alternatives to the current jail system.

The meeting was organised by the Association of Democratic European Democratic Lawyers and consisted of many different workshops and debates. The current situation in the Basque Country was brought to the attention of participants by many lawyers.

The President of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe asked the Spanish government to abolish the so called anti-terrorist legislation.

A member of the French Layers Union also denounced the situation of the Basque prisoners in the French and Spanish prisons.

A lawyer of the Catalan Association of Human Rights remembered the cases of the Basque political prisoner Inaki De Juana and many others. Inaki who has served over twenty years in prison saw his sentence extended by 12 more years for writing an opinion piece in a newspaper.

The Catalan lawyer highlighted the fact that the Spanish government is making up and opening new cases against Basque prisoners in order to prevent their release and to keep them in jail for life.

At the end of the Congress the president of the Association of European Democratic Lawyers denounced the ambiguity of the term terrorism. He also recalled the show trial case 18/98 against Basque political and social activists as an example of the misleading use of the term terrorism and its terrible consequences.

Last December, 42 well known pro-independence people were sentenced to up to 22 years in prison for their public and peaceful political work.

7 March 2008


Basque Info 4th March

-The Basque Country North and South is getting ready for election this Sunday.

-The pro independence movement and a whole range of groups are calling for a boycott of the elections in the South of the Basque Country.

-ETA calls Basque people to abstain and boycott the Spanish general elections.


- Thousands of Basque citizens march in Irunea/Pamplona to call for an active abstention on Sunday’s election.

Last week the campaign for Spanish general elections
was officially launched. In the last weeks, parties representing the Basque pro-independence movement have been banned by the Spanish court in order to prevent them from standing in this election. Spanish authorities have left a significant section of the Basque electorate without a party to vote to.

The pro-independence movement has called for an active abstention from the Basque population.

To defend this alternative, last Saturday 3,000 people took to the streets in Irunea/Pamplona. The pro independence movement sees abstention as the only effective option to respond to the state of exception imposed by the Spanish state over the Basque Country. This demonstration was the biggest election event in the province of Navarre since the beginning of the campaign.

- The armed organisation ETA has also called on basques to abstain on Sunday.
Last Saturday ETA published a statement calling on Basque people to respond against the state of exception and against the brutal repression of the Spanish state. ETA asked Basque people to boycott Sunday’s Spanish general election by abstaining.

According to ETA active abstention is the most effective way to show the next Spanish government that after the elections the Basque nation will be ready to confront them and to continue fighting for freedom.

ETA said that the Spanish repressive offensive of the last few months announces a new period of oppression after the elections.

ETA also says that the objective of this repressive campaign is to deny the Basque Country’s right to self-determination.

ETA remembers that the Spanish Constitution was imposed in the same way 30 years ago. Since then Basque people have been responding to oppression through struggle. And this shows that the Spanish laws don’t have any kind of legitimacy in the Basque Country.

ETA ends its statement by criticizing those who call themselves Basque nationalists and will be taking part on Sunday’s elections with complete normality.

- Trade Unionists call for abstention to defend the democratic framework.
More than 30 trade unionists from different unions have personally signed a document which calls on Basque society to abstain on Sunday’s election. This is to demand democratic conditions and to boost a democratic framework which includes the acknowledgement of the Basque Country including independence.
In a press conference where most signatories took part they made a proposal for workers to abstain in front of a state of exception.
They denounced the systematic attack of basic civil and political rights that an increasing number of Basque citizens and organizations have been enduring in the last years.
They also highlighted the fact that the basic rules of the game to channel the will of the people and determine the level of representation of different political options have been totally subjected to media scrutiny through. This through suspensions, bannings and repression and have left a very significant section of Basque citizens without any political option and without any civil and political rights. They have also said that anyone with a minimum of democratic sensitiveness cannot accept this electoral process. Union members are saying stop to a Spanish democracy which is denying a future and pretends to continue pressing with confrontation, suffering and imposition rather than opening the doors to a new political cycle.
Pensioners from Nafarroa have also called upon Basque citizens for a gesture of rebellion through abstention. According to the group Basque people have to respond as a country and they said that today’s abstention is tomorrow’s democracy.

- Anitzak, the initiative which involved immigrants who have made Euskal Herria their home have made their voice heard this week. They are demondaing a democratic resolution to the conflict and have denounced the attack on civil and political rights.
Members of Anitzak, said that the Spanish state cannot be called a state of rights. For this reason they have agreed make their countries of origin aware of the anti democratic situation in the Basque Country. They will be organizing actions in front of embassies and consulates. Tomorrow for example a rally will be organized in front of the German consulate in Bilbao.
Anitzak is backing the process of dialogue that was opened to reach a democratic solution to the political conflict.
- Basque rock groups reject repression against independence.
Famous and historical rock groups have released a public statement rejecting, imposition, repression and the actions to silence the Basque pro independence movement. They have demanded Independence.
According to the musicians, the Basque pro independence movement has been suffering a witch hunt in the last decade. They reminded the closure of newspapers and radios, the banning of the youth organisation as well as political parties. They also mentioned that Basque rock groups have also been affected by repression, through prosecution and attacks from Spanish nationalism.
According to the musicians, there is no freedom of expression and a state of exception has been imposed on Basque citizens.
The document has been signed by Basque musicians and is hoping to get widespread support in the next few days.
They also held a concert in Gasteiz Vitoria last Friday in which hundreds of people took part.

- European lawyers are analysing the banning of political parties.
The International Association of Lawyers has made public their opposition against the banning of the Basque Nationalist Action or ANV party and the Basque Communist Party.
These two parties were banned and have been prevented from standing on elections.
The International Association of Lawyers has also announced that they are going to analyse these measures based on European and International legislation.

- Batasuna calls on Northern Basques to strengthen their project by voting.
The three Northern provinces Lapurdi, Behe Nafarroa and Xiberua are in full electoral campaign. For a direct response against the aggression of the French State and in favour of the acknowledgement of the Basque Country, Batasuna has highlighted the need to strengthen their project through votes. It has called on Basque citizens to come out and vote on the 9th and 16th of March on the local elections in favour of Euskal Herria Bai a coalition of Basque parties including Batasuna.
According to Batasuna, the pro independence movement has an undeniable presence and is the only alternative for pro independence Basques.

Prisoners and repression

-Hundreds of people gathered in vigils and picket lines all over the Basque Country throughout the week in support of Basque political prisoners. They demanded the repatriation of more than 700 prisoners, the release of those who have already done their time and of those who are terminally ill as well as better prison conditions and political status.

-Another protest took place in Algorta, near Bilbao, to demand the release of the Basque political prisoner Anjel Figueroa. Anjel suffers from a range of serious illnesses. He had neurological illness which developed into epilepsia and sclerosis. According to Spanish legislation he should have been immediately released due to his circumstances but the Spanish authorities are refusing to do so.

Last Saturday, hundreds of people rallied and took turns over nine hours at vigil to show him support and to demand his immediate release. Representatives of local community groups such as youth groups, cultural associations, as well as sportspeople, councillors, relatives and friends took part in the vigil.

- University students in Gasteiz/Vitoria organised bus trips to two jails in Madrid to show their support and solidarity to the Basque political prisoners. From the outside of the prison, protesters were able to communicate with seven of the political prisoners kept currently in isolation. Protesters also denounced the police harassment suffered during the trip.

- Last December three prisoners stated a peacefull protest when the Director of the Spanish Jail System went to visit the prison of Soto del Real in Madrid.

As punishment, this week the three prisoners have been sent to prisons in the very south of Spain. Their families will now have to do travel approximately 1,400 miles to visit their loved one’s at weekends.

-Dozens of university students gathered at the Bilbao’s college to protest against torture.

They denounced that on the XXIst century torture is a systematic practice against Basque citizens and that a state that uses torture can’t be called a democracy According to the students this proves that a state of exception is imposed upon the Basque Country.

- Askatasuna the anti repression organization will continue to work and will not respond to the leaks heard in the Spanish Radio Cadena Ser.
Last Monday Cadena Ser leaked a police report which mentioned that Spanish Security forces were getting ready for a raid against Askatasuna. According to the report Askatasuna runs the groups involved in street rioting.
The report also says that young people arrested last October in Bizkaia and accused of street rioting were linked to Askatasuna. This news has arrived following the 6th security operation against young people. The arrested youths are accused of taking part in streets riots in Gasteiz Vitoria last week.
Following the speculation Askatasuna has said that they will keep working and that the report broadcast in Cadena ser was there to support the repression strategy.
- The Basque Spanish police allow Spanish Fascists to march in Donostia San Sebastian while silencing protesters.
About 50 fascists arrived to the streets of Donostia to show their Spanish Patriotism.
Following the failure of the march last October in which serious incidents took place and prevented the fascists march going ahead, this weekend the right wing saponiards decided to march again in the streets of Donostia. This time around they were well escorted by the Basque Spanish police. Fascist emblems and anthems could be seen and heard as well as insults and death threats against Basques.
Although some of the police officers escorting the march felt uncomfortable they did not hesitate to attack demonstrators who came out to protest against fascists, and to express their anger. The police even identified protesters and arrested two of them.
Over the weekend other fascist marches took place in Iruna Pamplona, Bilbo and Gernika.
-In the early hours of last Friday ETA blew up the office the Spanish Labour Party in Derio, near Bilbao. Before the explosion an ETA volunteer phoned in to warn of the bomb. The police evacuated the surroundings. Although material damages were significant, no one was injured. Pro-Spanish politicians condemned the action.
- A new youth group Ideia Zabaldu that will defend autonomy for the North of the Basque Country has been launched.
According to the young people involved, autonomy for the North of the Basque Country will help them win basic rights for young people.
The French State is responsible for the lack of rights of young people in the North. The issues include, having to study outside of the Basque Country, housing issues and the state of the Basque language.
The group has also called on Basque youths to vote for the coalition of parties Euskal Herria bai on Sunday.


Basque Info News 26th February


- The pro-independence movement calls on Basque citizens to abstain on election day.

-Dozens of events are organised all around Europe and America during the International Week of Solidarity with the Basque Country.

-Many events are organized on the 5th anniversary of the closure of the Egunkaria newspaper.



- The pro-independence movement calls on Basque citizens to abstain on election day.

Six hours before the election campaign started spokespeople for the illegal pro-independence party ANV, Basque Nationalist Action held a press conference where they called on Basque citizens to abstain.

On the 9th of March general elections will be held in Spain. Within the broad repressive campaign launched by the Spanish government two pro-independence parties have been banned as an attempt to silence the movement.

Abstention is the only option left for pro-independence supporters. ANV spokespeople highlighted the fact that they are calling for an active abstention to rebel against the fascist and opressive Spanish state, to make political change possible and to open the doors to independence.

ANV members said that it is now time to say stop to repression, stop to the state of exception and to build a huge popular barrier against oppression and denial of rights.

The ANV representatives reminded that 30 years ago a huge opportunity for change was lost because the Spanish Labour Party and Basque Nationalist Party betrayed Basque citizens. “We are once again in a similar situation and political change is about to come. This is why any kind of new fraude has to be confronted. A democratic situation where the right to self-determination is included needs to be created.”

ANV have called on Basque people to abstain as they see this the strongest weapon available to overcome repression and fraude.

At the end of the press conference, nine people were stopped and identified by the police.

200 people held another press conference during the week to call on Basques to abstain on election day. By doing this they want to highlight that the Spanish state doesn’t have a problem wih the pro-independence movement but with the whole of the Basque nation.

They said that it’s time to respond united as a nation to defend the right to self-determination and independence as the only way to survive.

-Hundreds of young people took to the streets last week in six different towns of the Basque Country to support abstention on election day. According to the young people there is no future for Basque youths under the current political situation.

-Members of the banned pro-independence party ANV have been gathering wide support in a European tour. They have been touring Europe for the last two weeks. They visited Germany, Flanders, Norway, Danemark, Finland and Sweden. They were received officially at the German and Flemish parliaments. They met with different political parties which are in power in all these countries.

The ANV party gave media interviews and participated in public talks.

The main objective of this tour was to bring attention and raise awareness around the systematic banning of Basque pro-independence political parties.

According to ANV members during the meetings political representatives committed themselves to raise this issue in their parliaments and local councils and expressed their support to ANV.

- The North of the Basque Country is also getting ready for elections.
Citizens from the provinces of Lapurdi, Behe Nafarroa and Xiberua will be voting on the 9th of March and the 16 of March to elect their local representatives to the French General Council which is based in Pau.
Euskal Herria Bai, the coalition of Basque pro-independence parties, including Batasuna, will also present candidates for the General council.
-Dozens of events took place all around Europe and America during the International Week of Solidarity with the Basque Country.

Events such as talks, protests, dinners, gigs, signatures collection, radio programs, exhibitions… were organised in Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile…

In Caracas, Venezuela Basque supporters were attacked by the local anti-Chavez police with tear gas.

In Ireland and organised by the Irish Basque Committees in Derry, Belfast, Cork and Dublin people took to the streets to show solidarity with the Basque people and to defend their right to self-determination.

In a press release the Irish Basque Commitees said:

These are hard times in the Basque Country. The Spanish and French governments respond with repression to the calls for dialogue, negotiation and recognition of the Basque Country’s right.

200 political, social and union activists have been arrested since the negotiations broke up, two political parties have been banned and hundreds of thousands of people have been left out of the next elections, peaceful demonstrations are brutally attacked, arrested people are savagely tortured, political prisoners are scattered at hundreds of miles from home…

The Irish Basque Committees want to let the Basque people know they are not alone on their struggle for democracy, rights and peace.

The Irish Basque Committees want to call upon the Dublin and Belfast governments to use their influence to persuade the Spanish and French governments to accept that Basque people have the right to decide freely their future, including independence, and to respect that decision.

- Many events are organized on the 5th anniversary of the closure of the Egunkaria newspaper.
Last Wednesday was the 5th anniversary of the closure of the Basque language newspaper Egunkaria.
The Spanish Civil Guard came to the offices of the paper and arrested many workers. During the arrest they were heavily tortured. Apart from the closure of Egunkaria other companies around the paper have also been affected.
After 5 long years, the court case is still to be heard and the 12 accused are all waiting trial.
In order to protest against the decision of the Spanish court to close the paper 5 years ago, many protests, rallies meetings and other events have been organised in towns and villages in the Basque Country.
The main rally was held near the closed offices of Egunkaria last week. Political parties, trade unions, other representatives and Basque citizens took part in a protest against the closure and in support of the accused workers.

In Catalonia protests were also organised to remember what happened 5 years ago and to demand the cancellation of the trial.

There are currently 2 different trials to be held against Egunkaria. A general case that brought the closure of the paper and an economic trial. 12 people will be tried in these 2 cases.

- Out of 730 Basque political prisoners, 169 have completed the ¾ of their sentence and 55 are being kept in complete isolation.
The political situation in the Basque Country is widely marked by the huge repressive measures of the Spanish government. In 8 months there have been 200 arrests which have been kept incommunicado. The situation in French and Spanish prisons is getting worse.
730 Basque political prisoners is one of the highest figures of prisoners in a very long time. From the beginning of this year 100 people have been arrested so far. If things continue to progress in this way this year will break all repressive records.

In 2007 only, 295 people were arrested in the Basque Country due to their pro-independence political stands.
Behind this figure hides the dramatic reality that Spanish and French authorities are trying to hide : Prisoners with incurable illnesses, life sentences imposed by Spanish authorities, lack of healthcare, cruel prison conditions, isolation and dispersal of prisoners.
There are currently 12 Basque prisoners suffering from chronic and incurable illnesses that Spanish authorities are refusing to release.
Over 55 prisoners are also kept in complete isolation in their cells with no natural light for some.
- Etxerat the Basque political prisoner’s relatives group has also denounced the dispersal of Basque prisoners and has said that the situation is very serious. In the last few weeks many prisoners have been transferred to new prisons even further from home. The situation is unbearable and is an attack on the prisoner’s rights.
Etxerat has highlighted that no prisoner has been repatriated. On the contrary prisoners have been transferred to prisons further from home. These transfers have serious consequences for prisoners and their relatives.
During transfers prisoners are handcuffed for very long hours and kept in small cages. While on transfer prisoners have no access to phones. Families have no news about their loved ones for many days. This is unbearable.
Doing an evaluation of last year, Etxerat highlighted that 40 family members have been involved in car accidents when going to visits their loved one’s in prison. One person died in an accident. As to cruel prison conditions, 4 Basque prisoners have tried to take their own life.
The number of prisoners keeps increasing and Etxerat has called on Basque people to mobilize and protest.
In support of the rights of Basque political prisoners hundreds of people take part in protests every Friday in cities and towns in the Basque Country.

- The Basque Spanish police attack a protest against torture.
Last Friday was the trial of the 8 Spanish military police Guardia Civil who are accused of brutally torturing Igor Portu and Mattin Sarasola. The two men were arrested by the Spanish police in January and heavily tortured.
While inside the court the 8 accused were undergoing their trial outside Basque citizens organized a protest to denounce torture. Basque-Spanish police did not hesitate to attack protesters indiscriminately and with plastic bullets. Some of the protesters had to be brought to hospital.
Meanwhile in the court, the Spanish policemen denied any wrong doing and any accusation of torture. The accused explained the injuries of the 2 arrested men by saying that they had to use force to during the arrest.

- As we informed in last week’s Basque Info six young people were arrested by the Spanish police in the last attack against the pro-independence youth. 70 young people have been arrested since last July.

Dozens of pro-independence supporters held a press conference in Gasteiz/Vitoria where the arrests took place. A spokesperson highlighted that the Spanish government is trying to weaken the pro-independence movement to put an end to any kind of opposition. They warned of the danger of an agreement between the so called Basque Nationalist Party and the Madrid government which wouldn’t include the self-determination right.

They called upon the young people to continue working day and to join forces in favour of independence and socialism.

Six of the five young members of the youth movement arrested last week in Gasteiz/Vitoria were imprisoned. The sixth one was released on a 24,000€ bail.

-Another Basque political refugee was arrested by the French police in the northern Basque town of Hendaia.

Koldo Mitxelena had already been arrested and in prison before. The arrest of Basque political refugees has become a weekly event.

- The French police arrested a Basque citizen, Ane Marie Toyos and released her few hours later.
Toyos was sentenced to 4 years in prison last year. However, she was released as she had been imprisoned for 8 months in 1999.
The anti repression group Askatasuna, denounced Toyos’ arrest and the repressive attitude inflicted by the French judiciary upon Basque citizens.
According Askatasuna, Ane Marie’s arrest was linked to the raids of pro independence bars last November.
- The two men arrested last week by the French police denounced the arrest as very violent.
Joseba Iturbide and Mikel San Sebastian were arrested last Friday in Donibane Lohitzune/St. Jean de Luz in the north of the Basque Country . They were on the run and were being housed by Basque activists who were also arrested.
The Lawyer of the two men informed the media that San Sebastian had to get 10 stitches on his nose and Iturbide has injuries in one ear. According to the 2 men the arrest was very violent.
The two men were arrested following a Euro warrant ordered by the Spanish authorities and will remain in prison until the extradition request is examined.
The couple who housed the two arrested men have also been imprisoned in Paris for helping Basque activists on the run.

-Despite Spanish repression the pro-independence movement continues with its campaign make the Proposal for a Democratic Framework public. A month ago pro-independence spokespeople Pernando Barrena and Patxi Urrutia were arrested shortly after launching the campaign and holding the first of a series of public meetings.

These arrests were seen as an attempt to silence the content of the negotiations between Batasuna, the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party. Those conversations took place at the end of 2006 where a pre-agreement was reached. Problems arose when the pro-independence movement asked for a more specific and detailed plan to implement the agreement and to ensure that independence was an available option.

It was then when the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party left the negotiating table and never answered the requests of the pro-independence movement.

Once the negotiations broke up, ETA attacked Madrid airport. It was after that that a new round of negotiations begun between ETA and the Spanish government on the one hand and between Batasuna and the Spanish Labour Party on the other hand.

Those conversations ended in May last year after the refusal of the Spanish government to accept a viable proposal of an autonomy for the four Basque provinces under Spanish rule including the right to self-determination.

ETA then ended the cease-fire in June last year.

-Last Friday ETA blew up a TV broadcast aerial located in a mountain near Bilbao. According to the Basque-Spanish police ETA tried to kill the policemen who went to deactivate the bomb.

This is ETA’s second action this year. Two weeks ago another bomb destroyed the court buildings in Bergara, near Donostia/San Sebastian two weeks ago.

- Basque citizens have called for a united Aberri Eguna (Basque National Day).
59 Citizens from different social sectors and from different parts of the Basque Country have called for a united Aberri Eguna 2008 which will be the beginning on the way towards sovereignty.
According to the organizers, the majority of Basque society is in favour of the acknowledgment of the Basque Country as a nation, in favour of territoriality and the right to self determination.
This National Basque day will take place on Easter Sunday 23rd March. Taking into account what the Basque Country is currently facing the organizers see it essential that the Basque people are seen as a nation.
The slogan for the Aberri Eguna is “We are a nation, seven provinces in one. In favour of self determination”. The march will leave from Irun Gipuzkoa and will cross the border to the north of the Basque country to end in Hendaia.