30 April 2008


Basque Info 29th of April

Headlines :

- The Basque Autonomous Government tries to silence the pro independence movement.

-Thousands of Basque citizens show support to the movement for Amnesty at the weekend.

-Young people brutally tortured.


- The Basque Autonomous Government tries to silence the pro independence movement.

April 26th was the 30th anniversary of the creation of Herri Batasuna, pro independence Basque political party. To this effect, the Basque pro independence movement organized a rally to remember the day.

But the Basque autonomous government decided to ban the rally before even the Spanish authorities had given the order.

The Basque Spanish police actually attacked the rally and tried to silence a political representative by physically covering his mouth.

Even though historic activists tried to negotiate with the police the demonstration was banned and attacked.

The pro independence movement has accused the Basque government and in particular the Basque Nationalist party of doing the dirty work for the Spanish government. And this, with the only aim of remaining in power.

The pro independence movement has made it very clear that they will not be silenced and that they will keep fighting to resolve the political conflict.

- Thousands of Basque citizens show support to the movement for Amnesty at the weekend.

To protest against the newly started show trial, against activists involved in anti repression work, thousands of people protested at the weekend throughout the Basque Country. They showed their support and solidarity with the activists and lawyers accused in the case.

Protesters highlighted that the accused are being tried for making public the anti democratic measures taken by the Spanish and French states against Basques and for denouncing repression, torture and the dispersal policy inflicted upon prisoners. Protesters made clear that if the accused are guilty of supporting and defending refugees and prisoners, then all protesters are also guilty and will continue to be so until freedom and amnesty have been achieved.

27 Basque activists and lawyers are currently being tried by the Spanish courts for being involved in anti repression work, denouncing torture and supporting and defending Basque political prisoners.

This trial is the third of its kind. The accused have refused to acknowledge the court as the sentence has already been written and they will all be punished and imprisoned.

The trade union LAB has also shown solidarity with the Basque activists accused in this political trial.

LAB has highlighted that repression and criminalisation will only maintain and extend the political conflict in the Basque Country. According to LAB, the Spanish and French states have to listen to the wish of the Basque people in order to resolve the conflict.

- Censorship motions against pro independence mayors fail.

Following the killing of a former Spanish Labour Party councillor by ETA last March, there has been a huge media and political campaign to remove pro independence mayors of their posts in the Basque Country.

The first of these motions to be voted on took place last Friday in Arrasate, the same town where the Spanish councillor had been killed. The media interest was huge and high profile Spanish politicians were present.

But the pro-Spanish parties failed to pass the motion and didn’t manage to get a new Spanish mayor.

While the vote was taking place, hundreds of pro-independence activists protested and supported the mayor outside and inside the town hall. Pro-Spanish politicians left very angry and disapointed.

The same thing happened in Bergara and Hernani.

-5th anniversary of the police operation against Udalbiltza.

Dozens of councillors and mayors gathered last Saturday in Oiartzun to remember the 5th anniversary of the police operation against Udalbiltza. 22 councillors and mayors were arrested and will be judged very soon.

Udalbiltza is the National Assembly of Basque councillors. It has been declared illegal by the Spanish government. Udalbiltza promoted, the national building of the Basque Country and works towards strengthening links between councils. Udabiltza has been the first national institution ever created.

In a press conference, last Saturday, pro-independence councillors and activists showed their commitment to continue building the Basque Country as a nation and to defend its rights.

-“10 days of fear and repression”.

This is how locals described what happened in the Basque towns of Oiartzun and Orereta last week. More than 30 houses were raided and 13 young people arrested. After 5 days incommunicado, all of them denounced psychological and physical torture. One of them had to be taken into hospital. He had tried to cut his veins to end his suffering while arrested. 5 of the 13 arrested have been imprisoned.

Thousands of people took to the streets to protest and were also brutally attacked by the police.

-2 home made bombs are de activated in Bidaxune, North of the Basque Country.

Last Tuesday the French police de activated 2 bombs that had been put in front of a real state agency and in front of the tourist office in the small village of Bidaxune.

These are not the first bombs against real estate agencies. The North of the Basque Country has become a niche for foreign property developers and there has been a protest camping to stop it and to say that the Basque Country is not on sale.

-Candido Saseta, head of the Basque Army is brought back home and buried.

He was killed 71 years ago. He was a legendary figure and Hundreds of pro-independence supporters gathered first in Gernika and then in his hometown of Hondarribia to pay a very emotional tribute to Saseta.

-500 anniversary of Spanish conquest.

Last Friday dozens of well known artists, musicians and writers launched a manifesto to remember the loss of Basque independence five centuries ago.

A series of events will be organized in the next few years up until 2012 to remember that historical date and its consequences nowadays.

2012 will mark the 500 anniversary of the conquest of most of the Kingdom of Navarre, the Basque independent state, by Castilian forces.

23 April 2008


Basque Info 21st April


-A new show trial starts against Basque activists in Madrid’s Special Court.

-ETA steps up its campaign against the Spanish government and the Spanish Labour Party.

-Once again Spanish police targets Basque young people.

-Political apartheid against pro-independence movement.


-ETA steps up its campaign against the Spanish government and the Spanish Labour Party.

In the early hours of last Thursday and Saturday ETA warned of two bombs placed at two Spanish Labour Party offices in Balmaseda, near Bilbao and Elgoibar near Donostia/San Sebastian. 30 minutes later both bombs exploded causing substantial material damages.

In the first of the explosion seven policemen were slightly injured.

Pro-Spanish political parties condemned the actions and called protests and police said they would increase protection measures.

These ETA operations come after the armed organization warned in their last statement that they wouldn’t stand still while the Spanish Labour Party arrests, tortures and imposes life sentences to Basque militants and ban pro-independence organizations.

- A new show trial starts against Basque activists in Madrid’s Special Court.

This time 27 Basque activists involved in anti repression work will be tried.
The accused have been working tirelessly to denounce human rights abuses committed by the French and Spanish States. They have denounced torture and defended Basque political prisoners. They are lawyers and activists and are being tried for their work.

It is the third of its kind. The Basque Youth Movement has already been tried and all the 24 accused have been jailed. Social and political activists have also been tried in the 18/98 show trial and 34 of the accused are currently in jail with sentences of 10-17 years.

On Monday the accused refused to acknowledge the courts as this trial is a political trial and the decision has already been made. According to the Basque activists and lawyers the sentence has already been written and they will all be punished.
The accused have received a very warm support from Basque society in particular from relatives of prisoners who have thanked them all for their work in helping their loved ones in prison.

-New raids from the Spanish police.

10 young people were arrested by the Spanish police in the early hours of last Thursday. All of them were taken from their homes in Oiartzun and Orereta near Donostia/San Sebastian.

They have been accused by the Spanish government of dozens of sabotages and attacks against pro-Spanish interests which have taken place in the area in the last three years. As usual, no evidence has been produced against the accused and the media have already sentenced the youth. Among the charges they have been accused of being members of Segi, the banned pro-independence youth movement.

Segi, in a statement released after the arrests said that the media and police are saying nothing but lies. They accused the police and media of criminalizing and attacking the option to organize and fight for a Basque Socialist State.

The anti repression group Askatasuna asked whether the Spanish state will ever learn that what they never achieved in 30 years of repression won’t be achieved at this stage.

Last Saturday dozens of people took part at a press conference in the main square of Orereta to denounce the arrests. It was then when the Basque-Spanish police attacked participants. Two people were arrested and badly injured and one policeman produced his gun and shot twice.

300 people gathered in Oiartzun and 1,600 in Orereta in the evening to show solidarity with the arrested and injured people.

2,000 people took to the streets of Orereta on Sunday against the arrests. More protests have been called for the next few days.

-Political apartheid against pro-independence movement.

Judiciary illegalisation processes are still running against pro-independence political parties. And a parallel banning process is taking place against mayors and councillors of the Basque Nationalist Action/ANV party.

Last week political representatives of the ANV party called a press conference to denounce the new apartheid measures to be put in place by the Spanish Labour Party and their allies in the so called Basque Nationalist Party/PNV.

These parties are increasing the pressure in local councils to remove pro-independence mayors from their duties and to replace them with some of their own. Although this happens after the ETA’s killing of a local former councillor few weeks ago, according to the pro-independence mayors this is a global strategy to isolate and weaken the left nationalist movement. This would leave the path free for new agreements between the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party.

These agreements would lead to a new fraud against Basque society and wouldn’t resolve the political conflict.

It’s generally accepted that these agreements would consist of a new autonomy statute for the three Basque western provinces which wouldn’t include the self-determination right.

- Jose Luis Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister’s mandate has been brutal.

Etxerat the organisation for prisoner’s relatives has published its annual evaluation of repression. In it, the organisation heavily criticises the violence of the current Spanish government and says that they will not accept another mandate of this kind.

Etxerat says that Basques have been enduring daily violence from the Spanish government.

The dispersal policy has also paid its toll. Since 2004, 5 prisoners have lost their lives in jail. 3 relatives have also lost their lives and 270 relatives have been injured in the 100 car accidents that they have suffered when going to see their loved ones in jail at hundreds of miles.

A total of 735 Basques have are currently in prison, the highest numbers of prisoners in recent history.

As to prison conditions, they have become unbearable, with numerous prisoners being kept in isolation and hardly any medical assistance for the ones who need it.
More than 40 prisoners have been in jail for over 20 years and 12 prisoners are critically or terminally ill and the Spanish authorities are refusing to release them.

Etxerat will do everything in its power to fight against such impunity and repression as well as in favour of resolving the conflict in the Basque Country.

- Basque Political prisoners have been suffering from hard and brutal searches from prison officers.

According to Askatasuna, the anti repression organization, political prisoners have become the target of the Spanish and French repression.

Apart from the usual dispersal policy and isolation of prisoners, French and Spanish prison authorities are brutally searching prisoners, their relatives and cells.

In the past few weeks, prisoners have seen their cells searched and destroyed on a regular basis. Some prisoner’s belongings have been destroyed.

In some cases relatives have also been brutally body searched and in one specific case the partner of a prisoner was brought to a hospital for an X-ray as prison officers suspected she was hiding something inside her body.

-Weekly vigils show support to Basque political prisoners.

As every Friday evening the streets and squares of dozens of towns in the Basque Country saw the weekly vigils in favour of the repatriation of the 740 Basque political prisoners. They are currently jailed in more than 100 prisons in France, Spain and Québec.

The Gasteiz/Vitoria vigil with an attendance of 360 people was the largest and the most emotional vigil took place in Lizarra where a tribute was paid to two local elderly people who have been attending the vigils weekly for years without a miss.

In Plentzia locals steped up the campaign for the release of Anjel Figueroa who suffers from severe epileptic attacks and is still kept in jail. 30 of them went on Saturday to show him solidarity outside the prison walls.

-Spanish torture is denounced internationally.

Hans Draminsky Petersen, vice president of the UN Committee for the Prevention of Torture has denounced the lack of resources available for health professionals in Spanish police stations.

In a conference called “Medical reponsibility in the international fight against torture” which took place in the University of the Basque Country, Mr. Dramnsky said that there are different methods of torture depending on the police force involved and that females are more more exposed to sexual attacks. He added that despite torture methods have changed since the 80’s it still is a reality.

- Basques celebrate the International Day of Political Prisoners.

The 17th of April has become the International Day of Political Prisoners and in the Basque Country as well as other parts of the world organized rallies and demonstrations in favour of political prisoners and demanded amnesty and freedom.
The main event took place in Bilbao last Thursday where hundreds of people gathered to demand the repatriation and release of Basque political prisoners.
International guests also took part in the event.

17 April 2008


Basque Info 15th April


-Batasuna’s statement on the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

- A new show trial is about to start against Basque activists involved in anti repression work.

- The French government freezes 14 personal bank accounts of pro independence families.

-2,000 people protest in Bilbao against the mayor’s decision to put up the Spanish flag.


-On the 10th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement the banned pro-independence party Batasuna launched a statement to highlight that “in the Basque Country like in Ireland there is a solution and this has to be democratic.”

According to Batasuna the Good Friday Agreement established the democratic mechanisms for all the political options to be defended and put in practice. Batasuna also said that self-determination is recognised for the people of Ireland and that institutions and mechanisms of cooperation between North and South have been established.

Batasuna reminded that they didn’t just suggest a model for a negotiation process in the Basque Country but a proposal for a democratic framework as well.

Batasuna reassures its commitment for a democratic solution, dialogue and negotiation as the way forward, contrary to repression. They called on the Spanish prime minister Zapatero to choose between Tony Blair’s or South African prime minister De Klerck’s path or the one chosen by the Turkish and Sri Lankan governments apply against Kurds and Tamil people.

- A new show trial is about to start against Basque activists involved in anti repression work.

The case against activists involved in anti repression work will be tried in a Madrid court. The 33/01 trial, name given to the case will start next Monday.

The accused have made it clear that in the opinion the sentence has already been written and that they will all end in jail.

“The trial will be a farce and at the end of it we will all end up in jail” said the accused.

- The French government freezes 14 personal bank accounts of pro independence families.

Bank accounts of activists of Batasuna and their partners as well as accounts of 4 children have been frozen.

Batasuna and the anti repression group Askatasuna have denounced such measures and have said that it is an attack against a political project.

They have also said that Paris is choosing to take the same path as Madrid.

The families involved have also said that they cannot even make an official complaint as they haven’t been notified of the fact that the bank accounts have been frozen. No reason has been given by anyone for such measures.

-2,000 people protested in Bilbao on Monday of last week against the mayor’s decision to put up the Spanish flag at the balcony of the city hall.

40 different community and political groups called the protest against the Spanish imposition and carried a banner were “Ours is the Basque flag” could be read.

Bilbao’s mayor, member of the so-called Basque Nationalist Party, was criticized for accepting the Spanish law. At the end of the rally organisers said “this situation shows once again that the Basque Country is suffering from an undeclared war. The Basque Country wants to survive. It’s denied of its rights and is confronted by two states that want to impose their identities.”

They called politicians to defend the wish of the majority of Basque citizens against the Spanish impositions.

- The Pro independence movement is prepared to work with anyone interested in working within a democratic framework.

On Thursday the pro-independence movement highlighted that they are prepared to work with anyone who is willing to include self determination as part of an agreement and who is prepared to consult Basque citizens on the future of the Basque country which could include independence. In that sense the pro-independence movement complained that the Basque Nationalist Party/PNV and the Spanish Labour Party/PSOE are trying to reach an agreement to make statutory reform within the narrow terms of the Spanish Constitution.

That kind of reform has proved to be a failure as this is what’s been imposed in the last 30 years and has not given a solution to the conflict.

The pro independence movement has announced that they will keep working to end partition.


- Basque political refugee and, now, prisoner Ivan Apaolaza’s case has a huge media attention in Montreal, Quebec.

Ivan Apaolaza was arrested in Montreal in June 2007. He was on the run. In March he appeared in front of the judge to assess his case and to decide if he will be expelled to Spain.

According to the anti repression group Askatasuna, Montreal citizens showed solidarity with Apaolaza during the trial, which has received huge media attention.

The defense lawyer made it very clear that there is hardly anything against Apaolaza. The Spanish authorities are looking to arrest him following some declarations made under torture by the Basque prisoner, Ana Egues.

This is the only evidence that the Spanish authorities have against Apaolaza. These are not sufficient evidence to expel him according to his lawyer.

- Despite his serious illness the Spanish prison authorities are refusing to release Anjel Figueroa.

Last Wednesday Anjel had to be rushed to hospital following four new epileptic seizures.
Anjel suffers from serious epilepsy and his imprisonment is making his situation worse.
In the last month he has been hospitalized four times but he has been sent back to prison every time.

The Director of the prison of Langraitz in the Basque Country, where he is currently kept, has actually requested to the prison authorities of Madrid to release Anjel.
But the Spanish authorities are refusing to do so.

As it happens every Friday of the year hundreds of people took part in vigils and picket lines all across the Basque Country to ask for the repatriation of the 740 Basque political prisoners and the immediate release of those who are kept in jail despite being seriously ill or those who have already fulfilled their sentence.

- ETA bombs another broadcasting areal in Nafarroa.

The attack took place on Sunday in a small village called Lapoblacion. The bomb caused minor material damages. The Spanish Guardia Civil also found another bomb close to it . The Spanish government in Nafarroa condemned ETA’sction.

- Hailing the past.

70 years on and the memory of the mass killings of thousands of republicans, socialists and nationalists by Franco’s forces is still very much alive in the Basque Country. In the province of Navarre, where the repression was particularly brutal, many different events have been organized in the last few weeks.

The “Memory bus” will be traveling all around the province to bring testimonies and show what has been kept in silence for so many years. Nowadays the pro-Spanish right wing government in the province still keeps pro-Franco street names. This is just an example of the attitude of the pro-Spanish forces in relation to the political cleansing and the post trauma, repression, hypocrisy and forgotness surrounding the 1936 war.

Although Nafarroa wasn’t a war from, 3,000 people were killed and many more were imprisoned, beaten, raped and humiliate for years.

All of them were remembered by around 2,000 people in a highly emotional tribute last Sunday in the capital of Irunea/Pamplona.

This is the third time that after so many years of repression a public homage has been organized. It shows once again the difficulties imposed by the authorities when it comes to remembering those who gave their lives for their commitment for a just society and a free Basque Country.

-A new controversy flairs up in the Basque Country.

It comes at a time when, as previously mentioned, there are still pro-Franco street names in towns and cities in the Basque Country.

The pro-Spanish political parties, with the help of some so-called nationalist parties, have launched a campaign to change the street names dedicated to assassinated ETA volunteers and other state violence victims.

The pro-independence activists of one of these towns, Zizurkil, organized a press conference to denounce the hypocrisy and the hierarchy of victims. Two of the street names removed this week in Zizurkil were dedicated to Joxe Arregi and Joxelu Geresta. The first one was brutally tortured to death by the Spanish police in 1981 and the second one was found dead during ETA’s ceasefire in 1999. he had clear signs of having been killed by state forces.

The pro-independence activists showed their commitment to achieve a scenario where there will be no more victims, a peace scenario based on rights.

-International PEN organization’s Commission for Writers in Prison denounces the situation of two Basque journalists.

Last weekend during a meeting in Glasgow the international association unanimously denounced the plight of two Basque journalists.

70 writers from 27 countries gathered over the weekend. They were briefed by two members of the Basque PEN branch on the closing down of newspapers, tortures and imprisonment suffered by Basque writers and journalists at the hands of the Spanish police.

Teresa Toda and Jabier Salutregi were sentenced to 10 years in prison each along with other 40 social, political and trade union activists by the Spanish Special Court last December. Both were editors and directors of the newspaper Egin. The pro-independence newspaper was closed down by the Spanish government 10 years ago.

This case will be debated at next September’s International PEN’s Assembly in Colombia.

- 1,500 Basque feminists held their fourth conference last weekend.

Debates took place around the theme of “Our rebel identities and our not submissive bodies” and about the role the feminist movement should play in the process for conflict resolution in the Basque Country.

The expropriation of women’s bodies, the imposition of a body model, a heterosexual model of relationships were some of the specific debates. Workshops and debates around prostitution were also organized.

The main conclusion of the conference was the need for a cohesive Basque feminist movement.

9 April 2008


Basque Info 8th April

- Only self determination can bring real political change in the Basque Country, says ETA.
-After 27 years on the run Basque political refugee Patxi Otaegi, aged 87, died last week in the north of the Basque Country from a heart attack.

-The leadership of the largest Basque trade union ELA has criticized the so called Basque Nationalist Party/PNV’s current position.


- Only self determination can bring real political change in the Basque Country, says ETA.

In its last statement ETA takes responsibility for the last 5 actions, including the killing of the Spanish Labour Party member Isaias Carrasco, who was killed on the eve of the March elections. The armed group also takes responsibility for the car bomb attack that destroyed the Spanish police station of Calahorra, as well as the explosions against courts and broadcasting aerials.

According to ETA, as long as the right to decide and territoriality are denied to Basque people there will not be any peace in the Spanish State.

In its statement ETA accuses the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Zapatero of making a huge mistake by abandoning the negotiation process. It accuses the Spanish government of trying to weaken the pro independence movement, rather than looking for a meaningful solution to the conflict.

By imposing a state of exception against the Basque Country, the Labour government has become as bad as its predecessors Jose Maria Aznar and Felipe Gonzalez.
In the name of Spanish unity, anything is valid against independence.

ETA says that, following Zapatero’s victory in the March elections, he now has to look at the conflict in the Basque Country, because ETA will stay there as long as the conflict is not resolved. ETA makes it very clear that the Spanish state will not have political stability or peace until the right to self determination and territoriality are acknowledged in the Basque Country.

-After 27 years on the run Basque political refugee Patxi Otaegi, aged 87, died last week in the north of the Basque Country from a heart attack.

On Saturday his remains were brought back to his home town in the south of the Basque Country were hundreds of people took part in a popular homage.

At a highly emotional tribute-rally he was remembered for his commitment, developing the pro-independence movement in his home village and then for his firm beliefs and comradeship while on the run in the north of the Basque Country. While in the north he was attacked by the pro-Spanish paramilitaries and saw the killings of many of his comrades in the early 80’s.

During the commemoration, the banner that was put on stage alongside his remains said “Patxi, the best homage is victory”.

He is the second Basque political escapee to die this year away from home.

Around 2,000 Basque people are currently on the run due to Spanish and French repression.

-The leadership of the largest Basque trade union ELA has criticized the so called Basque Nationalist Party/PNV’s current position.

For the last months the PNV has been trying to reach an agreement with the Spanish government ruling Labour Party in an attempt to continue in power as usual, without resolving the political conflict.

The leader of the Trade union ELA has defended the need for all Basque nationalists to stand together in favour of a self determination platform.

In a similar way Batasuna, the pro-independence party that is currently banned, has criticized the Basque Nationalist Party by saying that after 30 years in power in the local government they haven’t done anything to resolve the conflict in terms of self determination. They have added that the PNV has not even responded to the proposal put forward by the pro-independence movement which looks at a united southern Basque Country with autonomy including the self determination right.

According to Batasuna the Basque Nationalist Party is in the middle of a structural crisis and doesn’t have anything to offer to the Basque people.

Pro-independence trade union LAB’s leader has also spoken in favour of unifying forces in favour of independence. He has said that resisting is not enough. It is essential to go further, to advance and to define the steps and strategies.

LAB’s leader has asked the Spanish government to use their new four year govwernment term to solve the conflict through dialogue and negotiation.

-A highly significant example of the Basque Nationalist Party’s current position came up last week. Bilbao’s PNV mayor Inaki Azkuna put up the Spanish flag outside the city hall. A move that has been heavily critiziced by many.

The pro-independence movement denounced that this didn’t happen since Franco times 33 years ago. 26 years ago the Spanish police did the same and every year since then the so called “war of flags” has provoqued huge riots.

Hundreds of people took part at a demonstration in Bilbao last Saturday to protest against the imposition of the Spanish flag.

At the end of the march representatives of the pro-independence movement said that once again it’s been showed that the so called Basque Nationalist Party is nothing else than a puppet in the hands of the Spanish government.

Pro-Spanish politicians said that the same will happen soon in Donostia/San Sebastian.


-Two Basque young people stood yesterday in a trial because they refused to consent to a DNA test. The two youths were arrested in the north of the Basque country by the French police while doing a graffiti in favour of Basque political prisoners.

The anti-repression group Askatasuna denounced the fact that these kind of tests were introduced with the excuse of being used in sexual attack cases but it has now being used against political opposition.

- The Basque Spanish police arrests 3 young people in the province of Gipuzkoa for taking part in street riots last October when the Spanish fascists came to Donostia/San Sebastian.

On Saturday 3 young people were arrested in different parts of Gipuzkoa. The arrests were in connection with street riots that took place last 12th of October when the Spanish Fascists decided to come to Donostia / San Sebastian as a show of strength. Basque young people took to the streets and rioted against the fascists causing over 100.000 euro worth damages according to Donostia City Council.

The 3 arrested were brought in front of the judge who charged them with public disorder.

The anti repression group Askatasuna, denounced these arrests and accused the Basque Spanish police of protecting and defending fascists when they come to the Basque Country. Fascists who claim to be racists, xenonophobic and Franquoist.

The Basque Spanish police defend fascists and oppress people in favour of independence, according to Askatasuna.

- The Spanish labour party wants Basque prisoners to rot in prison.

According to the anti repressive group Askatasuna, the PSOE is doing everything in its power to prevent Basque political prisoners from being released and to extend their sentences to spend life in prison.

That’s the case of Fernando Etxegarai, who was released in January of this year after being in jail for over 20 years. The Spanish authorities have now released an arrest warrant against him as they have decided to extend his sentence by 4 more years. According to Fernando Etxeragarai that is pure judiciary cruelty. This new policy has so far been applied to 26 Basque political prisoners.

Askatasuna denounced such prison policies, which aim to destroy the collective of prisoners and physically destroy its members. To protest against such policies, Askatasuna called on Basque citizens to demonstrate and mobilise over the weekend.

On Sunday citizens from Plentzia, Fernando Etxegarai’s home town, demonstrated to demand the end of life imprisonment for Basque prisoners. They showed solidarity with Fernando.

-The pro-independence movement in Leitza, 30 kilometres from Irunea/Pamplona, denounced the last Spanish police occupation of the town last week.

About a dozen of jeeps helped by many foot-patrol took over the town for one hour, harassing and identifying citizens in the streets.

The pro-independence movement said that it is clear who uses weapons to create fear among the civil population.

- Offices of the Basque Nationalist party has been attacked with Molotov cocktails and paints.

On Saturday night in Bilbo the office of the PNV was attacked as well as a cash machine causing material damages.

In Markina a small town in Bizkaia, another PNV office got attacked when strangers threw paint against the office. The attackers also graffitied “PNV let the Basque young people alone.”


- The town of Durango, commemorates the dead of 1937.

71 years ago last Monday, the town centre of Durango was bombed by Italian fascist planes.

On March 31st 1937 after the Spanish fascist coup against the republicans, Italian fascist released by air 11 tonnes of explosives in Durango causing nearly 300 deaths.
In the cemetery of Durango in front of the remembrance garden, citizens of Durango, commemorated the dead last Monday. They held a minute silence and laid reiths.

The mayor of Durango, highlighted the need for peace and reconciliation. Apart from remembering the dead he thought that such events can make young generations aware of past atrocities.

-The French State discriminates against minorities.

In a report carried out by United Nation experts regarding minorities, the commission has noted that the French State does not respect the cultural and language rights of minorities. According to the report, minority communities are victims of serious racial discrimination which is ingrained in mentalities and institutions. Therefore it has demanded to the French government to study the report and to adopt appropriate measures to redress the situation.

Paul Bilbao Director of the Basque Language Rights Watchdog said that this report is a huge slap in the Face for the French government. In the name of the French core values of freedom, equality and brotherhood huge differences are created and the rights of minorities are not respected. Bilbao has seen the report as very positive.

-The last worlwide controversy around the Olympic Games in China and the repression in Tibet has shown once again that the Basque conflict is part of the international agenda.

Hein Verbruggen, the President of the International Olympic
Committee's Co-ordination Commission, compared the issue of Tibetan independence to the independence movement in the Basque Country at a conference in Beijing on Thursday.

The statement was made to illustrate the point that the International Olympic Committee should not be involved in politics, and that it could not rule out a country's application to host the games because the country had
internal problems.

Verbruggen said that "in spite of all the criticism we get, I am not afraid to tell you that we will not speak out on political issues. If we look at the candidates for 2016, would the IOC be forced or obliged to speak out because Madrid is a candidate and the requests of the Basques to be independent from Spain?

4 April 2008


Basque Info News 17th March-1st April


- 739 Basque political prisoners. The number of Basque prisoners reaches one of the highest points in history.
- Thousands of Basques take part in the united Basque National day or Aberri Eguna.

-Thousands of Basque youth take part in the Youth Encounter Gazte Topagunea.

-ETA blows up Spanish police barracks.


- 730 Basque political prisoners. The number of Basque prisoners reaches one of the highest points in history.

730 Basque political prisoners. Since 1969 there has not been as many Basque prisoners scattered in tens of prisons in France and Spain.

The number of Basque political prisoners has reached its highest point. We have to go as far as the sixties to find similar figures which was during Franco’s dictatorship.

Although in 1977 an amnesty law was implemented, since then, the number of arrests and imprisonment of Basques has been on the increase.

Since 2000, there has been a huge increase. However, the last months have been the most significant ones. In the last 8 months the number of prisoners has increased by 142 prisoners.

This imprisonment in mass is due to the latest political trials that have taken place against the Basque Youth movement, as well as political and social activists and people accused of taking part in street riots.

Another reason for such an increase of prisoners is the extension of sentences and the obstacles that authorities are putting against releasing Basque prisoners.

Living conditions in prisons have also worsened and prisoners are scattered all around French, Spanish and Canadian jails.

-Thousands of Basques take part in the united Basque National day or Aberri Eguna.

Thousands got together, on Easter Sunday, to defend the path to sovereignty by overcoming political borders.

The Basque Homeland Day took place in the border that divides the Basque Country between the French and Spanish States.

Many Basques from different tendencies and political beliefs took part in the event and highlighted the need to leave differences to one side and start working together.

“We are a nation, seven provinces in one and in favour of self determination” was the slogan for this year’s event.
Despite a wide representation of political parties and social sectors the so called Basque Nationalist Party/PNV was not present.

This the same Basque Nationalist Party which prefers to make a deal with the Spanish Labour Party to maintain its power rather than work towards a resolution of the political conflict.

- Thousands of Basque youth take part in the Youth Encounter/Gazte Topagunea.

Thousands of Basque young people gathered in Lezo, near Donostia/San Sebastian for four days during Easter in the bi-annual Gazte Topagunea or Youth Encounter.

Despite the miserable weather 5,000 young people stayed permanently camped in Lezo. Some other thousands came to the different events organised along the days. Another 2,000 young people came from other countries from all around Europe and America to show solidarity with the repressed Basque Youth movement.

The Basque youth pro-independence movement, once again, showed its huge strength and ability to organise hundreds of gigs, debates, workshops and many more activities, making the Gazte Topagunea a unique experience in Europe.

For four days the Basque revolutionary youth fulfilled their objective of building a Basque socialist independent state of their dream.

New relationships and energies were created during the Encounter and it is now the time to bring these experiences to all corners of the Basque Country.

-An ETA car bomb explosion destroys a police station.

On Easter Saturday ETA planted a car bomb outside the Spanish police barracks. It happened in the middle of the town of Calahorra, just a few miles from the Basque Country. An ETA member called a local emergemcy service to warn about the bomb. 30 minutes later the explosion destroyed the barracks. One policeman was slightly injured. The value of the damage caused was of 3.5 million euros. A new barrack will have to be built outside the town.

Another bomb planted by ETA destroyed a TV signal station outside the Basque town of Azpeitia on Saturday.

-The French police recovered a couple of home-made bombs near a golf resort in the northern Basque village of Ziburu. Beside the bombs on a wall there was a large graffiti which said “The Basque Country is not on sale”.

Many similar actions have been taking place for the last year and a half in the north of the Basque Country. French government boosted tourism and speculation is destroying the environment and forcing young people to emigrate.

-Dozens of people took part in the annual mountain march organised by Eguzki, the Basque pro-independence environmental movement last Easter.

They had to confront snow, rain and cold but they were able to bring their demands for a free and alive Basque Country through the mountains of the province of Araba.

They visited different places where the wind-mills are destroying the landscape and denounced the millionaire business behind them. They pointed at the so called Basque Nationalist Party as the main responsible for it.

The march ended on Easter Sunday, the Basque Homeland Day. At the rally, Eguzki said that without land, without Mother Earth there is not territoriality, there is not homeland and there is not future.

-The Basque-Spanish police harassed and created great tension on Easter Saturday in the village of Ibarra where some events were organised to welcome home two local already former Basque political prisoners.

Hundreds of peole took part in the rally and dinner to welcome Eider Ijurko and Ekaitz Aramendi after 5 years since they were kidnapped by the Spanish police.

It’s usual that the local Basque authorities ban all kinds of homage and homecomings of former Basque political prisoners.

-150 people attended the annual Irish Basque Good Friday Night at the Conway Mill in Belfast organised by the local branch of the Irish Basque Committees. Ska-reggae music and Basque struggle videos created a great atmosphere at the Mill.

The warmest moment of the night came when former Basque political prisoner Jaime Rementeria took to the stage. Jaime was released three years ago after serving 21 in Spanish jails. It was his first time out of the Basque Country.

The Irish Basque Committees presented him with some gifts and Jaime thanked the public for the welcome. He also remembered the comrades who died and those who are still in prison.

The local Belfast branch of the Irish Basque Committees wants to thanks everybody who attend the event for making it another huge success.

-The pro-independence party Batasuna has urged Basque citizens to stop the fraud that the Basque Nationalist Party/PNV and the Spanish Labour Party/PSOE want to commit against Basque Country.

Following the electoral blow that the PNV suffered at the last elections, Batasuna believes that the PNV is prepared to make a deal with the Spanish Labour party at all costs.

A new fraud which will have serious consequences for the future of the Basque Country according to Batasuna.

The PNV is anxious to make a deal with the Spanish Labour Party to maintain their power no matter what.

But such agreement would destroy the possibility of resolving the political conflict within democratic parameters. Batasuna believes that such fraud will extend the conflict and has urged Basque citizens to rebel.

- The Spanish Labour Party is getting ready to present a motion to censure pro independence mayors and council representatives.

Although the pro independence parties were banned from standing at the last general election in March, some were able to take part in local elections last year and won a significant number of council representatives and mayors.

But the Spanish Labour Party wants to present a motion to censure them.

The pro independence movement has highlighted that no one has the legitimacy to do such a thing and that the Spanish Labour Party is trying to exclude the pro independence parties which have proven that there are alternatives to resolving the Basque political conflict.

The pro independence movement has also reminded that in last year’s election 200.000 people voted in favour of pro independence candidates. And to ban these representatives from councils would be to deny a voice to a significant section of the people in the Basque Country.


- Basque Spanish police attacks a rally in Eibar Gipuzkoa.

Prisoner Ibon Munoa was granted a visit to go and see his very ill parents. He was accompanied by the police.

A rally was called in support of the prisoner. People shouted messages of support to Ibon. At that stage protesters were attacked by the police.

- People in Zornotza demand the release of prisoner Legorburu and Etxezarreta.

Juan Jose Legorburu has been in prison for 22 years and Joseba Etxezarreta for 10. According to the Spanish law, the two prisoners should have been released in 2001 and 2006, but the Spanish authorities are refusing to do so.

On Sunday neighbours and friends got together demand the release of the two prisoners. In a letter written by the prisoners, they explain that hard times are coming and that this is a time to resist, and demand to each Basque to do their bit.

-“They want to give us death sentences. That is my fear, will I be able to face that.” Said last week former political prisoners and currently on the run Fernando Etxegarai.

Fernando in a press conference this week helped by prisoners relatives.

The Spanish authorities have released an arrest warrant against, Fernando Etxegarai a former political prisoner.

Fernando spent 20 years and 9 months in Spanish prisons. He was released in January after doing his time fully. However, the Spanish court want to jail him for another 4 years.

Fernando knows well the horrendous prison conditions and is scared of having to go back for another 4 years. Prison policies are created to destroy prisoners and he wonders will he be able to face another 4 years.

- The anti repression group Askatasuna has denounced the case against Iban Apaolaza, imprisoned in Quebec.

Iban was arrested last June in Montréal (Quebec). A procedure has been open to hand him over to the Spanish authorities who are looking for him. His name was mentioned by Anabel Egues who is currently in prison and was tortured when arrested. Anabel mentioned Iban’s name while being tortured and the Spanish authorities are now looking for him.

The anti repression group Askatasuna, denounced the witch hunt against Basques who are on the run throughout the world.

In the case of Iban, if he is left in the hands of the Spanish authorities, there is a serious risk of him being tortured.

Due to the current situation in the Basque country, many citizens have been force to flee the Basque Country to avoid being tortured or imprisoned. Currently an estimated 2,500 Basque citizens are on the run and live in countries across Europe and America. Most of them have to endure hard living conditions and many of them have died without being able to come back home.

On Easter the Basque Political Refugees Collective launched an statement on a video format. The statement is read by Joseba Sarrionaindia one of the most famous On The Runs. He escaped from jail 22 years ago and has become since the in one of the most popular and awarded Basque writer.

He says: “We, Basque political refugees, have been living around the world for many years now. We have learnt that the world is wider than France and Spain. We live in Venezuela, Brazil, Ireland, Cape Verde…. all independent nations nowadays. Have they regreted of being independent? No, they haven’t. This is why today as well and in the future, we, Basque political refugees, will continue defending independence for our old nation. We have the right to come back to a free Basque Country and so we’ll do.”

Other news

-Basque citizens don’t feel that they live in a democracy.

Over 60% of the people living in the three Basque western provinces of Araba, Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia are not satisfied with the way democracy works in the Basque Country or in the Spanish State.

These are the latest results of a survey carried out by the local government.

6 people out of 10 believe that democracy is not working in the Basque Country.

66% of the population also believes that human rights are not respected.

The majority of the population also think that people have no right to defend their ideas. They are also opposed to the banning political parties and the political trials against social and political activists.

As to independence, 28% of the population is in favour of Independence against 27% who are opposed to it. 34% of the population would agree to independence depending on the circumstances.

-One hundred people from the Basque town of Idiazabal have been touring Scotland in favour of self-determination during Easter.

Dancers, musicians, Basque sportsmen and women took part in different events in the streets of Edinburgh and Inverness. They were officially received at the Scottish Parliament and local councils.

The Basque delegation carried out banners in favour of self-determination for the Basque Country and Scotland. They created a huge interest among locals and there was also a large coverage of the events in the media.