4 June 2008


Basque Info News 3rd of June.


- The pro independence movement criticizes the recent proposal for a Consultation on the future of the Basque Country.

-ETA encourages Basque citizens to continue fighting for an independent Basque state.

-Thousands protest against the High Speed Train.


-The pro independence movement criticizes the recent proposal for a Consultation on the future of the Basque Country.

The pro-independence movement is not happy about the consultation proposed by the Basque Autonomous government about the future of the Basque Country.

Last week the Juan Jose Ibarretxe, president of the Basque autonomous government announced that next October Basque citizens will have the opportunity to give their views on the future of the Basque Country.

The pro-independence movement is not happy with the proposal. They have accused the president of the government of using the consultation for electoral gains only. They have also accused Juan Jose Ibarretxe of negotiating with the Spanish government while he refuses to talk to Basque pro independence parties.

The pro-independence movement has also highlighted that the consultation will only take place within three out of seven provinces that constitute the so called Basque Autonomous region, leaving out the province of Navarre as well as the three provinces under French control.

According to the Basque pro-independence movement the Basque Country does not need Ibarretxe’s proposal, but a plan that includes all the political and social actors and trade unions of the Basque Country.

The pro independence movement has not made clear what way they will ask their supporters to vote on the day of the consultation. Their support is essential to give the consultation some value. Their position will be confirmed on the 27th of June and the pro independence movement has said that they will act responsibly.

Meanwhile the Spanish government has made it clear that if this proposal goes forward they will go to the constitutional tribunal to make the consultation illegal.

-ETA encourages Basque citizens to continue fighting for an independent Basque state.

In a statement published last week, ETA says that the armed organization was created to fight against oppression and that they continue with the same commitment, trying to open the door to independence and socialism. “Our goal, says ETA, is the creation of a Basque state because this will make the development of the Basque Country and its citizens possible”.

ETA acknowledges that “there are many people and organizations involved in this task. Each one working in their own capacity and from their own perspective. All of them are needed.” ETA says, that they will continue doing their part.

The armed organization thinks that “the way has to be opened day by day and that the most important thing is to develop the foundations of the Basque Country and to fight against oppression and in favor of the rights”. They also thanked the work done up until now and highlighted that the Basque Country is closer to freedom.

Following the arrests of two weeks ago in Bordeaux, ETA reminds the Spanish and French states of the need to find a political solution to the conflict. They also said that it is a mistake to persist repressing the Basque Country.

ETA also denounces the efforts of the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party to reach an agreement that would ignore the territoriality and the right of self determination of the Basque Country.

-Thousands protest against the High Speed Train.

Last Saturday and despite the terrible weather Donostia/San Sebastian saw one of the largest demonstrations against the construction of the High Speed Train (HST) in the Basque Country.

Hundreds of people took part in the day long events. It marked the end of a national tour which has been giving information and denouncing the impact of the High Speed Train on the environment and economy of the Basque Country if it was finally built.

In the evening, thousands of Basques marched behind a banner which said: “Stop the High Speed Train! More debate, less imposition”. They also shouted slogans like: “Villages alive, no to the HST”, “Stop destruction!”...

Speakers at the end of the rally asked for a public debate and for the end of the works. They said that the HST will destroy the Basque landscape, the people and a way of life.

People were asked to continue fighting against this project. Speakers made it clear that it is possible to stop such a monstrous project.

Over the weekend two dumpers which are being used to build the tracks of the HST were burnt in Donostia/San Sebastian and the railway between Zalla and Balmaseda, near Bilbao was cut off.

Last night ETA blew up the offices of one of the main companies involved in the building of the HST.

-Protests against political apartheid.

One year ago there were local elections in the south of the Basque Country. 133 local pro-independence platforms and candidates were prevented of standing in the elections by the Spanish authorities. A unique case in Europe.

In order to remember and denounce this political apartheid hundreds of people took to the streets in different towns and villages in the Basque Country last week.


- Two Basque political prisoners go on hunger strike to protest against prison conditions.

Oier Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Subijana are kept in jail in the French prison of Muret Seysses and last 19th May they went on hunger strike to defend their rights.
The prisoners demand longer visits, they want an end to isolation of Basque prisoners within the prison and the right to more than 4 books and 2 CD’s at once.

-Spanish Prison authorities are refusing to release terminally and critically ill Basque prisoners.

The number of seriously ill prisoners is up to 13. According to the Spanish law, prisoners who suffer from terminal illnesses have to be released. However, in the case of Basque prisoners the authorities are refusing to do so.

Last week, the lawyer and doctor of Mikel Ibanez highlighted the serious situation of the prisoner. After falling into a coma he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

He is currently in hospital to be treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The doctor and lawyer are extremely concerned with Mikel’s health as the cancer could expand to the whole of his body.

Mikel’s lawyer has made 3 requests to release him but the Spanish high court has refused to release him.

In support of Basque political prisoners like every Friday Hundreds of Basque took to the streets to protest against the bad prison conditions.

- Meanwhile, Etxerat the group of Basque political prisoners' relatives have been in the European parliament to denounce the prison conditions that Basque political prisoners are suffering.

The relatives of prisoners met several MEP’s and lawyers last Wednesday and denounced the French and Spanish state’s policies against Basque prisoners. They highlighted that torture exists and that there is a Guantanamo in the middle of Europe.
Relatives also took the opportunity to demand what actions Europe is going to take to avoid further deaths and torture.

-Wide repression in Navarre.

Last week the Annual Report about Repression in the Basque province of Navarre was published by the Askatasuna.

The anti repression movement denounces in it that in 2007 in this province alone, there were 627 police check points, 1.165 people were identified, 145 arrested and 19 imprisoned. 9 of them denounced torture and there were 32 police attacks, 50 beatings, 164 attacks against the freedom of speech, 65 prohibitions, 26 fascist attacks and more than 50.000 euros fines. One elderly woman from the gipsy community was killed by the local police in an attack. The relatives of Basque prisoners from Nafarroa were also involved in 3 serious road accidents when going to their visit.

-“Spanish police tortures”, says Amnesty International.

According to the 2007 Amnesty International report torture is a constant and extensive method used by the Spanish police forces.

Amnesty International says that most of the torture victims are alleged members of ETA and immigrants.

The human rights organization denounced that police have complete impunity to do so.

The group for the prevention of torture has also confirmed that torture in the Spanish state is a general trend.

The group presented last week its own report around torture in the Spanish State for 2007.

689 people denounced torture in the Spanish state and 136 of the people affected were from the Basque Country.

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