24 June 2008


Basque Info News 4th to 17th of June


-Batasuna reiterates its commitment with conflict resolution.

-International solidarity with the Basque Country.

-Human rights groups from the Spanish State support the Basque movement for Amnesty.

-Batasuna reiterates its commitment with conflict resolution.

Around 120 people attended a public meeting in the northern Basque town of Uztaritze to hear from the Batasuna representatives the evaluation of the failed negotiation process.

Once again the pro-independence spokespeople highlighted that there was a real opportunity to solve the conflict and that the opportunity is still there.

As they explained Batasuna based its proposals in the democratic right of the Basque citizens to decide their future and denounced the lack of courage on the side of the Spanish government. Although the French government tried to show itself as being outside of the process many signs show that they were following the process very closely and supported the Spanish positions.

-International solidarity with the Basque Country.

A group of Irish former political prisoners and Coiste activists visited the Basque Country over the weekend. They wanted to take this opportunity to show solidarity and to exchange experiences and lessons.

In a press conference last Friday Michael Culbert denounced the criminalization against the Basque anti-repression movement and remembered how the British government tried the same strategy to finally accept the political roots of the conflict and open a negotiation process.

Another delegation of the Irish Basque Committees took part in numerous events along the weekend among them meetings and rallies like the one hold in front of the Spanish governor’s offices in Bilbao.

The Basque Internationalist movement had called a solidarity weekend and groups from Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and others attended. The mayor of the District 10 of Rome, Sandro Medici, sent his solidarity greetings to the pro-independence mayors threatened by the Spanish authorities and showed support for negotiation and self-determination.

- Human rights groups from the Spanish State support the Basque movement for Amnesty.

Around 30 social groups that defend human rights in the Spanish State have signed up a manifesto in support of the accused in the macro trial.

27 Basque activists and lawyers are currently in court accused of being linked with ETA. They are all involved in anti repression work.

Around 30 people and organizations signed the manifesto, among them the former president of the European Association of Democratic Lawyers and the spokesperson of the group for the prevention of torture.

The groups have condemned the current show trial as well as the previous one’s and have accused the Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon of behaving like a sensationalist journalist.

Julen Arzuaga, Basque lawyer accused in the trial, highlighted that repression has not stopped in the Basque country and that there are more prisoners now than ever, which means that someone needs to defend them and collect all the data around repression. Julen also has made it clear that this type of work will continue as long as repression exists.

The accused in the show trial have refused to present a defence. According to the accused, the sentence has already been decided and they’ll all be punished.
The prosecution has requested 10 and 13 years for most of the accused. Today is the last day of the trial and the sentences will be known shortly.

- Over a thousand Basques protest against the increasing repression.

Last Saturday in Baiona North of the Basque Country 1300 people and representatives of different organisations as well as public representatives took part in a demonstration to say Stop to Spanish and French repression.

They protested against the serious situation of prisoners, the show trial that is taking place in Madrid against people involved in anti repression work and to protest against the judicial measures.

At the end of the protest the anti repression groups Askatasuna made it clear that they will not allow values such as solidarity and respect for freedom to become criminal acts.

-ETA attacks pro-Spanish newspaper buildings.

In the early hours of the 8th of June a bomb exploded outside one of the buildings where the pro-Spanish newspaper El Correo Espanol/The Spanish Post is printed in Zamudio, near Bilbao.

Around 40 sq. Metres were destroyed and those working at the printer had to stop their work for two hours.
The newspaper was printed with a new front page where “They will not silence us” could be read.

This is not the first time ETA attacks this particular newspaper. El Correo Espanol/The Spanish Post was one of the main pro-Franco newspapers and nowadays represents the right wing pro-Spanish interests in the Basque Country. This kind of media has been described by ETA as weapons of war against Basque freedom.

Local authorities and press associations called protests in the main cities of the Basque Country on the aftermath of the attack.

- Two more prisoners have started a hunger and thirst strike.

Jabi Abaunza and Arkaitz Bellon who are in prison in Algeciras have started the hunger and thirst strike after prison officers beat up Arkaitz Bellona.
The two prisoners were recently transferred to Algeciras and are kept separate from the other Basque prisoners.

Oier Gonzalez who is in Muret Seysses in France also continues the hunger strike he started last May 26th.

Meanwhile Basques from Urnieta near San Sebastian, remembered the death of Juan Carlos Alberdi.He died in prison 20 years ago due to lack of medical assistance.

Local Basques organised a commemoration in his memory last Sunday. They also demanded the release of all the Basque prisoners who suffer from chronic and serious illnesses.

- Another two prisoners have seen their sentence extended to a life sentence.

Pello Odriozola and Ines de Rio were due to be released in July after two lengthy sentences of 30 years. But following a new law life sentences have now been extended to 40 years and the two prisoners will be kept in prison till 2018.

Askatasuna, the anti repression group, has denounced this action and said that this new legislation has been created to destroy Basque political prisoners.

-Hundreds of people show solidarity with political prisoners.

As every Friday of the year hundreds of people took part in around 40 vigils in support of the 740 Basque political prisoners scattered in more than 100 hundred jails around Spain and France.

The largest attendance was in Donostia/San Sebastian with 380 people.
Political prisoner Mikel Ibanez was specially remembered as he was taken to hospital due to his serious illness while Spanish authorities denied his right to be released.

-Thousands support the Basque schools in the very south of the Basque Country.

One again thousands of people responded to the call of the Basque language schools to support them in the province of Araba.

Despite the rain falls a day long of events took place in the village of Bastida in the border with the Spanish region of Rioja. It was a celebration and fundraising day.

26 years ago this Basque school opened its doors with seven students. Nowadays 200 attend the school. In 1981 Bastida had 1% of Basque speakers but thanks to the school today 25% of the village’s inhabitants can speak the native language.

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