26 November 2008


BASQUE INFO 25/11/08

-The left pro-independence movement calls for a real political transition.

2,500 people demonstrated in Bilbao last Thursday on the 24th and 19th anniversary of the killings of Basque pro-independence movement leaders Santi Brouard and Josu Muguruza at the hands of Spanish death squads.

At the end of the rally one of the spokespersons spoke of the need of a new democratic framework based in the right of self-determination, reunification and amnesty for all political prisoners.

He added: “Those who killed our comrades, along with the almost 30 year-old Spanish constitution haven’t been able to fulfil their objectives of assimilating the Basque Country and destroying the pro-independence movement. They haven’t been able, thanks to the struggle of the pro-independence movement in defence of the Basque Country and its citizens’ rights.”

100 people attended a similar commemoration in Barcelona.

-Hundreds protest against Spanish king’s visit.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Euskalduna Congress Palace in Bilbao last Wednesday for a protest organized by the left pro-independence trade union LAB. They carried a banner which called the employers “the kings of thieves” and demanded the right to national self-determination. Inside the building, authorities, business men, pro-Spanish politicians and trade unionists gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Basque Employers Association, chaired by the king of Spain.

-ETA's attack.

Last Thursday ETA destroyed a TV and communications centre in Bilbao. It’s understood the centre was being used by the police.

-Solidarity with Basque political prisoners.

Around 30 towns across the Basque Country saw the usual Friday’s vigils on support of the 755 Basque political prisoners. The largest protest approximately 384 people gathered in Gasteiz. Special thoughts were given to the ill prisoners who, under Spanish law, should be released.

Three of them were recently released but it is imposed that they are under curfew in their homes and that they can’t attend political events.

Prisoners in the Spanish jails of Soto del Real and Aranjuez in Madrid are holding protests such as remaining locked up in their cells and picketing against isolation and hard conditions of life.

-Spanish judiciary on the spot in Inaki de Juana’s case.

Next Friday 28th of November former Basque political prisoner and hunger striker Inaki de Juana will appear in Belfast Courts to hear the judge’s decision on his situation. A Spanish judge is trying to find ways to get this Basque citizen extradited. After the Belfast judge’s requests to clarify the accusations the Spanish judge turned to the so called “victims of terrorism associations” to ask them for help to find some kind of evidence to get the extradition.

The whole case, primarily based on Spanish revenge against Inaki de Juana, has been built around a letter allegedly written by the ex-prisoner and read at his welcome party, where the most “threatening” line says “keep onwards”.

-Demonstration asks for offical recognition of Basque language.

Confronting cold, wind and rain more than 5,000 people took to the streets of the Basque capital Irunea/Pamplona to ask the local Navarrese government to make Basque language official in all parts of the province of Navarre. The Basque language is official along with Spanish in some parts of the Basque Country but Basque speakers don’t have the same rights in other parts like the south of Navarre and the northern provinces.

-Student movement from strength to strength.

Last Saturday 4,000 young people celebrated with discussions, a dinner and concerts, the 20th anniversary of the Basque pro-independence student organization Ikasle Abertzaleak (Nationalist Students). Ikasle Abertzaleak is the largest student organization in the Basque Country. It’s organized in schools and universities and fights for a Basque National Education system which will teach Basque contents in Basque language.

-Harassment against youth continues.

Three young people were arrested for putting up Basque youth organization Segi’s posters over the weekend. The Spanish-Basque police charged them with “collaboration with armed organization”.

20 November 2008


Basque Info 18/11/08

-Brussels hosts an event which criticizes police activities and demands a democratic process to Madrid.

The group Basque Friendship (MEPs support group for a peace process in the Basque Coun¬try), was set up three years ago in the European Parliament with the aim of supporting and advan¬cing the process of democratically resolving the conflict in Basque Country. Last Tuesday, they organized a successful event in the European Parliament building.

About a hundred people, Members of Parliament of different political affiliation and origin, deputies or staff members from all parliamentary groups, journalists from various countries, NGO staff, human rights lawyers and committee members of Basque Country solidarity groups, attended the event.

Bairbre de Brún, Sinn Féin MEP, and vice president of the European Par-liament Gerard Onesta, moderated the event and introduced the two guests. They also gave their views on the subject.

The first speaker was Brian Cur¬rin, a South African lawyer, who has first hand knowledge of the conflict in the North of Ireland and of the conflict in his own country. He concluded from his experience that there are some elements and pro¬cedures which are common in the resolution of both conflicts. And he advises that, beyond the differ¬ences that may exist, these procedures of conflict resolution should be applied to other scenarios, as for example the Basque Country.

The speakers criticized the French and Spanish states repressive approach to the conflict.

-French police operations against ETA.

Two ETA members were arrested last week by French police near the border with Andorra and another two were arrested this week in the French Pyrenees. One of them was named by the police as one of “ETA leaders”.
French and Spanish first ministers showed publicly their satisfaction for the arrests. Both states propaganda machine announced once again the end of ETA.

-Inaki de Juana appears in Belfast Court.

After the issuing of an international arrest warrant against former political prisoner and hunger striker Inaki de Juana, he presented himself to the High Court in Belfast Court, accompanied by his solicitor Mr Seán Devine. Shortly afterwards, he was arrested.

A protest organised by the Belfast Basque Solidarity Committee was attended by at least 20 people who offered support with flags and a banner in favour of independence of the Basque Country.

Later that evening and after considering all the prosecution arguments the judge decided to release Inaki on a £5000 bail and other restrictions on his normal life.
Meanwhile, the judge will clarify the conditions of the Spanish warrant. Inaki de Juana will have to appear in court again on the 28th of November.

-Another three political activists imprisoned.

Three young people members were arrested, tortured and imprisoned by Spanish police last week. They have been accused of being members of Segi, the pro-independence youth organization. Segi was banned by the Spanish government in 2003 and 23 of its leadership members are doing a 6 year prison sentence for their public and political work in defence the Basque youth. Parents of the arrested said: “They have been taken away like they did in Franco times.”

2,000 people rallied last Saturday in the deteniees hometowns of Irunea/Pamplona and another 400 in the village of Amezketa against the arrests.

-Basque political prisoner taken to hospital.

Antton Lopez, held in a Spanish prison at 1,000 miles from the Basque Country was taken to hospital last week after having a brain crisis. However, he had to wait for 3 hours until the jail’s doctor attended him and another two hours more before being taken to hospital.

Organised by the Basque political prisoners’ relatives’ organization, Etxerat and most of Basque trade unions, hundreds of people gathered outside Spanish courts buildings across Basque Country to ask for the immediate release of ill prisoners and those who have already done their time but are still kept as hostages.

12 November 2008


BASQUE INFO 11/11/08


-Another French police operation against the pro-independence movement.

18 people were arrested last Tuesday and Wednesday in the north of the Basque Country by dozens of French policemen. On the 24th of September 14 members and leaders of the pro-independence party Batasuna were also arrested in the north in a similar operation. All of them were released 24 hours later. The same procedure was carried out in last week’s operation.

The arrested are well known activists in the Basque language movement and nationalist circles. They have been managing and working in pro-independence bars in recent times. According to the police the arrests were made in relation with the finances of the pro-independence movement.

The anti-repression group Askatasuna said that this is all part of a repressive plan designed by the French government to stop the success of the pro-independence movement in the north of the Basque Country. Askatasuna stated that the current problem in the Basque Country won’t be solved with more police arrests, bannings and prosecutions, but with a democratic process.

Protests against the police operation were held in many different northern villages and towns such as Hazparne (40 people), Itsasu (40), Azkain (45), Larresoro (60), Ziburu (45) and Baiona (100).


-ETA says “they won’t stand by while terrorist attack is launched against the Basque Country”.

In a wide statement written in Basque language last week, the armed Basque group ETA claimed the responsibility for 10 attacks and explained their political analysis of the conflict.

"The resistance will continue while the rights of the Basque Country are not recognized and respected," the group said in the statement.

ETA accuses the Spanish government of repeating the same mistakes made by previous governments and affirmed they will sit at a negotiation table once again. “The problem is not ETA” continues the statement. “The solution to the conflict is in the acceptance of the Basque people’s rights”, it concludes.

-More than 750 Basque political prisoners for the first time in 40 years.

Exactly 755 Basque citizens are imprisoned and scattered in 82 jails all around Spain and France. Just 16 of them are in Basque prisons. The numbers were exposed at a massive press conference held at the end of the VIII National Assembly organized by Etxerat, the Basque political prisoners’ relatives group.

They called upon Basque society and institutions to get involved in the defense of their relatives’ human rights and to create a mass movement to bring them home. A national demonstration will be organized on the 3rd of January 2009.

-Hundreds of people attended Solidarity Weekend in the North.
The Basque prisoners support group Askatasuna asked people to turn fear into strength; and to keep fighting in order to go from the current situation of French government’s contempt towards the Basque Country, to one of recognition. The call was made at the annual Solidarity Day where music, food and rallies were organized.

They remembered that more than 40 people have been arrested in the north of the Basque Country in the last two months. The estimated population in the north is 270,000 people.


-3 young people were arrested last night in the Basque capital Irunea/Pamplona for being members of Segi, the youth pro-independence organization. Segi is currently banned in the south of the Basque Country and members of its leadership are serving 6 year prison sentences.

-The Spanish National Court has launched an international arrest warrant against former Basque political prisoner and hunger striker Inaki de Juana after he didn’t appear before the judge in Madrid this morning. He was requested to answer to questions related to a letter read at his welcome rally after being released last August. The prosecutor is asking for prison for Inaki for “glorifying terrorism”. The Belfast-based solicitor Kevin Winters wrote a letter to the judge last Friday asking him to let Inaki appear before the judge through video link. This request has been ignored.


Long life Basque songwriter Benito Lertxundi released new album two weeks ago.
Benito Lertxundi started his career with the new artistic Basque group Ez dok amairu, put together in 1965, largely made up of folk singer-songwriters concerned with Basque culture.

Benito Lertxundi and others took to singing accompanied on a guitar for the first time in Basque music, a fact that came in for much criticism on the grounds that the instrument was alien to the Basque culture.

Ez dok amairu broke up in 1972 and its members took up separate paths that eventually have confirmed some of them as acclaimed and key folk Basque singers up to the 2000s. That’s the case of Benito Lertxundi, probably the most acclaimed along with Mikel Laboa. In a context of social and political unrest, they provided the musical background for the 70's period of struggle, repression and turmoil Benito Lertxundi is still very much involved in campaigns and events to support Basque language, prisoners…etc.

Itsas ulu zolia (The sea pleasant howl) is the title of his last album, released at the end of last October and can be downloaded at: http://www.e-boza.com/informazioa.cfm?abeskodea=Bakea&hizkuntza=2

5 November 2008



-Main news of the week: Increase of repression shows it’s time for change.

The left pro-independence movement denounced last week in a mass press conference the repressive situation in the Basque province of Navarre for the last few weeks. 21 people have been arrested, 14 have claimed they were tortured, 3 political organizations have been banned, 20 demonstrations have been prohibited and attacked, 7 people have been hospitalised and the number of political prisoners has reached an all time high (103 out of a total of 756 Basque political prisoners). This situation reflects the deteriorating situation in the Basque Country and the ongoing political conflict.

According to the left pro-independence movement these are times for change. The Spanish state is trying to stop change by using all their repressive tools. The coming months will define the next years situation. The nationalist left believes a democratic situation has to be reached where all political objectives will be able to be defended in the same conditions and in absence of violence.

The Spanish government knows that the left pro-independence movement is the engine for change. This is why they are using bannings, detentions, tortures, and other repressive methods against political pro-independence activists and organizations.
The Basque pro-independence movement wants to reaffirm its commitment to continue the struggle in all areas to improve the political and living conditions of Basque citizens; and in favour of independence and socialism and calls upon all other sectors who believe in the need of a democratic framework to come together.

Other news in brief:

-The Basque political prisoners support group Askatasuna made public last week that Basque prisoner Mikel Gil tried to commit suicide recently. Mikel suffers from a serious head illness and should have already been released under Spanish laws. Askatasuna denounced the terrible conditions that led Mikel Gil to try to taek his own life. Mikel has been in a Spanish jail’s hospital wing for the last nine months and has been denied his right to be seen by a doctor of his choice as well as to be transferred to a prison in his home town.

-1100 people attended vigils in eight different hospitals in the Basque Country last Friday to denounce the terrible situation of ill Basque political prisoners in French and Spanish jails.

-Four people were arrested by Spanish police in the Basque capital, Irunea/Pamplona last week. Several houses were searched and guns and explosives were allegedly found. After five days incommunicado three of them claimed they were tortured and were sent to prison accused of being members of ETA.

-Last Thursday a powerful car bomb exploded in the right wing pro-Spanish and Opus Dei owned University of Navarre in the Basque capital of Irunea/Pamplona. One hour earlier a man, claiming to represent ETA, had made a telephone bomb warning. 20 people were slightly injured by the explosion. This is the 6th time ETA has attacked this university.

- Following its consideration of the fifth periodic report of Spain, the Human Rights Committee of United Nations showed his concerned about the large scope of the definition of terrorism in the Spanish Penal Code which could lead to various violations of the rights stipulated in the Covenant. This definition has been used to ban Basque political organizations and imprison many of their members. The Committee noted with concern that cases of torture continued to be reported and recommended that Spain accelerate the adoption process of a mechanism for the prevention of torture.

-Culture news:

Internationally acclaimed Basque musician Fermin Muguruza released “Asthmatic Lion Sound Systema”, an awaited new album last Friday. The album is a unique mixed of sounds and voices from across the world.

The heterogeneous musician recorded bits and pieces while on tour on 2006. He has been supported by well known musicians such as Dave Hillyard, Stepahnie Wallace, Franklin Bubbler Waul, Ophelia, Dana Leong, Kaori, Rub-a-DUB Market, Bajka, Al Rumjen, Manu Chao, Maria de Medeiros…

Here it's the first single's video:

The album can be listened at: