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.

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