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.

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