30 May 2008


Basque Info News 27th of May


-French-Spanish police operation against ETA.

-Basque pro-independece trade union LAB reinforced.

-Spanish state violence showed in political trial.

-Political social control operative discovered.

-Campaign against High Speed Train arrives to Bilbao.

-Basque language festival "Ibilaldia 2008" goes beyond all expectations.

-French-Spanish police operation against ETA.

Four ETA members were arrested last Tuesday night in the southern French city of Bordeaux. The Spanish state TV broad casted the operation almost live. The Spanish government wanted as much publicity as they could.

The arrested could be seen surrounded by police while shouting slogans in favor of freedom for the Basque Country.

According to the Spanish government the arrested Xabier Lopez, Jon Salaberria, Igor Suberbiola and Ainhoa Ozaeta were key members of the political department of ETA. The police said that Xabier Lopez took part in the negotiations between the armed organization and the Spanish governments last year. The day of the arrests was the first anniversary of the last meeting between the two parties.

ETA offered then to disband its structures if a proposal, which would lead to an autonomy for the four southern provinces, including the right for self-determination, was accepted.

The Spanish government refused the proposal at the astonishment of the international observers who thought that this proposal was a positive one.

Another two well known citizens were arrested in connection with the police operation of Bordeaux. The 75-year-old poet Fred Fort was arrested in the northern Basque town of Baiona. The other one was the former mayor of the southern town of Andoain, Joxean Barandiaran.

Shortly after the arrests protests took place in their home towns to show support to the pro-independence militants and against repression.

-Basque pro-independence trade union LAB reinforced.

Last weekend saw the VII. Congress of the pro-independence trade union LAB.

The general secretary for the last 16 years Rafa Diez stepped down to leave the position to the 36-year old Ainhoa Etxaide who becomes the first woman to lead a class trade union in the Basque Country. Seven women and five men form the new National Executive of the trade union.

Representatives of international and local trade unions and Basque political parties were present. A spokesperson of the Cubans Workers Union congratulated LAB and showed support for Basque freedom.

LAB has never been as strong as today, since its establishment in 1974. LAB got the 16% of the votes in the last workers elections and has increased its membership in a 22% in recent times.

-Spanish state violence exposed in political trial.

As we have been informing in previous weeks, 27 human rights activists are being judged by the Spanish Special Court in Madrid. All of them have been working publicly and peacefully for many years supporting Basque political prisoners rights and relatives, denouncing torture, repression and the dirty war.

All of them have been accused of being members of ETA for doing this work.

They refused to defend themselves at the trial and do not recognize the Spanish courts’ right to judge Basques. They said the sentence has already been written and the trial is a farce.

Last week the trial, which is in its fifth week, became a trial of the Spanish state as different Basque citizens victims of state violence denounced their cases in court.

Prisoners relatives, dirty war victims, tortured people… talked as witnesses despite the judge’s efforts to stop their accounts.

-Political social control operative discovered.

It’s well known the Spanish secret services, army and police undercover operations and espionage against the pro-independence movement in the Basque Country continue unabated today.

A new case was discovered last week.

After many weeks of suspicious activity in an abandoned building in the middle of Gasteiz/Vitoria some locals decided to get in and check what was going on.

It was then when they found an elaborately prepared system of surveillance with video cameras and voice recording machines.

All of them were focused upon the main street where the pro-independence youth in the city socialize and mobilize.

-Campaign against High Speed Train arrives to Bilbao.

A mobilization and information tour against the High Speed Train (HST) is crossing the Basque Country.

The HST is the one of biggest threats to the future of Basque Country and is being built without consultation with the local population.

2,000 people gathered in Bilbao last Saturday to protest against the construction of this HST, asking to stop the works and for the beginning of a public debate around the transport model which Basque citizens may want for the Basque Country.

The slogan of the protest was “Respect the people’s will. Stop the HST!”.

-Basque language festival "Ibilaldia 2008" goes beyond all expectations.

Ibilaldia celebrated its 30th anniversary. This time Ibilaldia was placed in the Basque town of Amorebieta-Etxano, near Bilbao. As usual, people were able to enjoy Basque music, gastronomy and culture.
Citizens met in the Basque town of Amorebieta-Etxano to celebrate Ibilaldia. Ibilaldia is Bizkaia's version of the pro-Ikastola, pro-Basque language events that take place annually in the Basque Country.

Every year events are organized in the different regions of the Basque Country to raise money for ikastolas (Basque language schools).

Organizers said Ibilaldia 2008 went beyond all expectations and that influx of people was massive, with over 80,000 people attending.

Andra Mari, the ikastola in Amorebieta-Etxano, organized the 30th edition of Ibilaldia. From 09:00 to 20:00 and under the slogan 'Amore bi eta gehiago' (a play on Basque words meaning “Two loves and more”). A party atmosphere overcame this town, which is placed in the middle of Bizkaian province.

The area was divided into six different areas to enjoy Basque music, gastronomy and culture in various ways. Basque bands such as Amaia Zubiria, Pantxo eta Peio, Etsaiak and Deskontrol entertained the spectators.

Ibilaldia is organized to satisfy all tastes. People there enjoyed bertsolaritza, (Basque Country’s "spontaneous poetry"), txalaparta (typical Basque instrument), clowns, blow-up castles... Moreover, Ibilaldia paid tribute to the Basque popular song this year.

20 May 2008


Basque Info News 20th of May

Headlines :

-ETA into the offensive. Spanish police barracks are blown up.

-16,000 people support anti repression activists.

-The pro-independence movement launches a new campaign in favour of the Proposal for a Democratic Framework.


-ETA into the offensive. Spanish police barracks are blown up.

The week started with two small bombs damaging two diggers in Hernani, near Donostia/San Sebastian. It is understood the company owning the diggers is involved in the construction of the High Speed Train track. Once again the environmentalists have denounced that this train is one of the biggest threats to the Basque Country’s future.

Just two days after ETA blew up the Spanish police barracks of Legutio, near Gasteiz/Vitoria. The station collapsed killing one police officer and injuring several more. It’s been said that around 300 kilos of explosive were used.

This action has specially worried authorities as it shows ETA’s strength.

The last car bomb of the week provoked serious damage on the boardwalk of the seaside town of Getxo, near Bilbao. It looks like the bomb was directed to the Maritime Club. Getxo has been repeatedly targeted by ETA because it is where the pro-Spanish economic elite lives.

-16,000 people support anti repression activists.

As we’ve been informing in the last weeks 27 members of the anti-repression movement are being judged in Madrid in a new show trial. All of them have been involved for many years in public and peaceful work in favour of political prisoners, supporting their families, speaking out against torture, denouncing state violence and repression…

During the week Giberto Pagani, president of the European Democrat Lawyers, asked once again for the abolition of the Spanish Special Court.

On Saturday it was the turn of Basque society to protest against the show trial. 16,000 people walked the streets of Bilbao behind a banner where a slogan saying “The Basque Country needs Freedom. Enough is enough!” could be read.

700 people were at the front of the demonstration carrying the prisoner’s pictures. Behind them were the 27 accused holding the banner. One of them, Julen Arzuaga, one of our usual guests in the program, said that the pro-amnesty movement is the consequence of 30 years of state violence and repression in the Basque Country.

Meanwhile the trial has enetered its fourth week. Relatives of prisoners took part in this show trial as witnesses.
They gave account of the cruel treatment of the prisoners and the breach of their rights. They explained that if the pro amnesty movement disappears they will be no one left to defend them.

Although the judge tried to silence the family members, a doctor who looks after the prisoners was able to prove that prisoners health is not a priority in the Spanish jails and that Basque prisoners have died in prison due to neglect.

The doctor was also able to prove that torture exists in Spain.

The prisoner’s relatives actually said that they are making them suffer in the cruelest way. By not releasing sick prisoners, by keeping then away from home, by keeping the prisoners isolated.

-The pro-independence movement launches a new campaign in favor of the Proposal for a Democratic Framework.

Members of the pro-independence movement held a press conference last Saturday. They announced that a campaign will be launched in the next few weeks to inform about their Proposal for a Democratic Framework.

They want to reach all corners of the Basque Country and turn their proposal into the people’s proposal.

As they explained the current political frameworks are in deep crisis and a historic opportunity for change is still open in the Basque Country. The pro-independence movement is convinced that the majority of the Basque people are in favour of this change.

The Proposal suggests an autonomy for the four Basque southern provinces including the right to self-determination as well as the recognition of the north of the Basque Country.

The pro-independence spokespeople said that this Proposal would solve the political and armed conflict and would open the doors to independence.

- The UN Rapporteur for the promotion and protection of Human rights goes to the Basque Country.

Over a week long visit, Martin Scheinin, the Finnish rapporteur has been meeting with the Spanish Justice ministry, Basque political prisoners, victims of torture and the association of ETA’s victims.
He also assisted briefly to the current show trial that’s being taking place in Madrid against 27 Basque activists and lawyers.
His visit aimed to look at the legitimacy of the so called Spanish anti terrorism legislation and to make recommendations.
Schenin has been in places like Guantanamo, Turkey and Israel.
Following his visit Scheinin called for the end of the incommunicado period inflicted on arrested people under the anti terrorism law. He also highlighted the risk of considering as terrorism actions that are clear not terrorism acts.

Schenin also demanded a strong commitment from the Spanish government to eradicate torture. He explained that he is very aware that torture was systematic during Franco and was worried about the allegations of torture nowadays.

-25,000 people gather in favour of Basque Public Schools.

This was just another huge success of the movement in favour of the Basque language and particularly of those working if favour of public and quality Basque language education.

The festival which took part in Irunea/Pamplona has been growing since it was first celebrated in 1995. Organisers congratulated the public and ask authorities to listen to their claims to support the Basque language and abandon strategies to undermine it.

- A Basque Youth Movement delegation visits Ireland.

Invited by Ógra Shinn Féin a delegation of the Basque pro-independence youth movement toured Ireland and strengthened links last week.

ÓSF national organiser Barry McColgan said that the Basque youth movement is a great inspiration for Irish young people. Despite state repression the youth movement keeps developing effective strategies in favour of independence and socialism.

- Prison officers assault prisoner Hodei Ijurko.

He was beaten up twice. Hodei was first beaten up in a Madrid prison on May the 3rd. Following the assault, Hodei was put in isolation and incommunicado so no one could see the marks of the assault.

Hodei had asked to make a phone call which is the right of all prisoners when they get to a new prison.

Prison officers took the request very badly. 5 officers searched his cell took things belonging to him and ended up assaulting him.

- The claim put against the Basque Spanish police by the Figueroa family is archived.

The incidents happened in January, when the mother and sister of Basque political prisoner Anjel Figueroa, went to visit him in hospital.

Anjel suffers from serious epilepsy and should be released according to the law. But the Spanish authorities are refusing to do so.

Back in January when his mother and sister went to visit him in hospital a Basque Spanish police officer, requested to the family to take their clothes off to strip search them. The 2 members refused to do so and were denied access to Anjel.

Although the police officer had been originally cautioned, last week the court archived the case and said that the police officer had done nothing wrong and that she had followed the right instruction.