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.

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