20 February 2008
Basque Info 19th of February
-Successful general strike against repression and in favour of democracy in the Basque Country.
-Batasuna’s national executive calls the Basque people to organize and develop the political work and initiatives.
-11 of the 14 members of Batasuna arrested last week have been imprisoned.
-Succesful general strike against repression and in favour of democracy in the Basque Country.
Thousands of people took to the streets last Thursday during the general strike called by the pro-independence movement. This exceptional call came as a response to the brutal repressive offensive launched by the Spanish government in the last couple of months. Dozens of activists have been arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to up to 22 years in prison for their political work in favour of the self-determination right for the Basque Country. Two political parties have also been banned.
The pro-independence movement has seen it’s offices, social centres closed down and bank accounts frozen and their leaderships have been arrested twice in the last few months.
But the pro-independence movement continues to respond with strength.
40,000 people took part in demonstrations and refused to go to work all around the country. And this despite the pressures from local governments, media, police and employers.
20 people were arrested and 25 were taken to hospital after being injured by the police during demonstrations. Road blockades, barricades, trains stopped, buses burnt, rallies…etc. were organised in every corner of the Basque Country.
There is no doubt that this is a unique show of strength in the European context from a revolutionary movement.
Different speakers at the end of demonstrations emphasized the need for a democratic framework for the Basque Country, the end of repression and denounced the state of exception impossed by the Spanish government.
Although difficult to summarise all the events of last Thursday, it is clear that it was another historical day and a step forward to overcome the difficult situation. It showed the Spanish government that there is no possible defeat of the pro-independence movement. Only dialogue, negotiation and acceptance of the Basque citizens decisions on their future are the way to achieve a lasting resolution to the conflict.
-Batasuna’s national executive calls the Basque people to organize and develop the political work and initiatives.
The leadership of the pro-independence political party Batasuna has given its view on the last political developments. Batasuna was banned two years ago and 22 members of its leadership were imprisoned last October and another 14 two weeks ago.
In this special statement Batasuna recognises the damage suffered after these attacks but highlights that they have been able to reorganise after each offensive.
Although the situation is hard, according to Batasuna nowadays there is a historical opportunity to achieve a democratic scenario. There are now only two options: To continue as prisoners within the jail of the Spanish Constitution or to open the doors to a democratic situation where independence will be possible. Batasuna says that they are ready to continue towards the second scenario along with other people.
Batasuna believes that it is essential to continue working in cities, towns and neighbourhoods because through work and struggle the pro-independece movement will be able to bring the Basque Country to independence.
-11 of the 14 members of Batasuna arrested last week have been imprisoned.
As we informed last week the Spanish government launched a new police operation against the pro-independence movement. 400 police officers arrested 14 members of Batasuna. 20 houses and four offices were searched and many documents and computers were taken. Two of the offices were closed down.
Last Thursday eleven of the arrested were sent to prison and another three were released on bails of up to 60,000 euro. All of them have been accused of trying to reorganise the leadership of Batasuna and therefore being members of ETA.
- Garikoitz and Eneko Pascual, were arrested in the northern Basque town of Baiona at the Spanish Special Court’s request last Wednesday and sent to prison on the following day. Although originally from the shouthern city of Donostia/San Sebastian they had been living in Baiona since March 2007 when they had to escape from police harrasment.
The same happened to Unai Hernandez who was sentenced as the 18/98 show trial last December and was arrested on Thursday in Baiona as well.
On the following day the police lifted Mikel San Sebastian and Joseba Iturbide who went on the run after two ETA members were arrested and badly tortured last January. Along with them the couple who housed them was arrested as well. These arrests happened in the northern town of Donibane-Lohitzune/Saint-Jéan-de-Luz.
Hundreds of people protested against the arrests in their adoptive and hometowns.
Hundreds of Basques have to escape from Spanish harrasment and torture every year and many of them take refuge in the north of the Basque Country. Most of the times the French authorities prosecute them and imprison them to hand them to the Spanish authorities.
-The majority of the political parties in the parliament of the three western Basque provinces expressed their concern around the 18/98 show trial sentence last week. 40 political, social and union activists were sentenced to up to 22 years in prison for their public and peaceful work in favour of self-determination for the Basque Country.
The Communist Party of the Basque Country, the Basque Nationalist Party, Aralar, United Left and Basque Solidarity parties presented different motions to show their support to those sentenced. They criticized the attacks of the Spanish government against civil and political rights and denounced the strategy of criminalization against the pro-independence option.
The pro-Spanish conservative parties reacted wih anger to these motions and even threatened with prison to those who supported the motions.
-EPPK, the Basque Political Prisoners Collective made a public a statement last Sunday. They analyzed the political situation and called on the French and Spanish governments to do what they haven’t done yet: accept an autonomy of the three northern Basque provinces and another autonomy for the four southern provinces including the right to self-determination.
The EPPK call upon the Basque people to keep defending their rights and continue working to build a democratic situation in the Basque Country. They reminded everybody of the achievements of the last few years by saying that “we never got so far in the recognition of our rights as a nation and this will be a millestone for the future.”
The Basque political prisoners warned of the danger of a possible agreement between the Basque Nationalist Party PNV and the Spanish government which would cut off independence options and would ultimately extend the conflict for another generation.
They denounced the terrible repression the Basque Country is enduring as well as the cruel living conditions in prison. According to EPPK this is due to the firm position of the pro-independence movement and their defence of the proposal to resolve the conflict.
-60 wellknown members of the pro-independence movement from the province of Navarre held a press conference to reaffirm their intention to confront any attempt to deny the right of the Navarrese people to decide their future along with their Basque brothers and sisters. 30 years ago this Basque province was cut off from the other three southern provinces to create an autonomy under pro-Spanish forces.
Speakers at the press conference said at this very historical times once again there is a risk to leave this province out of the political process. According to the pro-independence movement some political parties are trying to reach an agreement behind the back of the Navarrese society which would make the reunification with the rest of Basque provinces impossible.
-After the negotiations between the pro-independence movement and the Spanish government broke up the Spanish Home minister held a round of meetings with the mediators who took part in the conversations. Among them there were European governments. At the astonishment of these governments the Spanish government announced the beginning of a repressive campaign against the Basque pro-independence movement and threat to make 200 arrests before the March elections in 2008.
The Spanish Home minister has achieved his goal. With last weeks arrests more than 200 people have been arrested in the last 8 months in the Basque Country and there are now 727 Basque political prisoners.
-Among the numerous initiatives held almost daily against illegalizations 30 people entered the town hall in Atarrabia, another 30 in Baranain and 20 in Sopela. They occupied the council over the weekend to denounce the Basque pro-independence political parties bannings. They were constantly harrassed by police and threatened by the mayors to be evacuated.
-27 years ago the Basque militant Joxe Arregi was tortured to death by Spanish police in Madrid. Last Sunday a mountain walk and a rally in his hometown of Zizurkil near Donostia/San Sebastian remembered him. Relatives, friends and neighbours gathered to denounce that 27 years on torture is still a normal and systematic procedure against Basques.
As Joxe Arregi was killed on the 13th of February, this day has become the Day against Torture in the Basque Country. dozens of events take place all around the Basque Country. This year once again public talks, film screenings, picket lines, plays, exhibitions…etc. were organised to raise awareness of this sistematic and terrible practice. Amnesty International has shortlisted Spain every year among the states where torture is a general practice.
-Basque Political Prisoner Bittor Tejedor was attacked by prison guards in the Canadian jail of British Columbia where he’s been held since his arrest last June.
His relatives denounced how, with the excuse of a mutiny in the next gallery, prison guards threw pepper gas into his cell and denied him medical assistance for hours. Bittor thinks all was a planned attack against him.
He is awaiting trial to be extradited to Spain.
-Two banks, one pro-Spanish Labour Party office and one bus were burnt out last Saturday night in Hernani near Donostia/San Sebastian. Petrol bombs were thrown and riots spread around the town and over night when the Basque-Spanish police arrived.
Two council vans were burnt out in Gasteiz/Vitoria.
All these attacks are claimed as a response against Spanish repression.
-Basque political prisoner Mikel Gil is on hunger strike since last Tuesday after he was denied his right to be visited by a doctor of his choice. Last year Spanish authorities refused to release Mikel despite his critical psichologycal illness. Last week he suffered a crisis his personal psicholgyst went to the prison but wasn’t allowed to get in.
Basque political prisoners support group Askatasuna denounced this situation and said that this is a sistematic denial of basic rights to Basque prisoners and has to be understood within the war strategy waged by the Spanish government to undermine the Collective and the pro-independence movement.
-In the early hours of today 6 young people were arrested by the Spanish police and houses were searched in Gasteiz/Vitoria. Another seven similar operations against the Basque pro-independence youth have taken place in the last 8 months. The Spanish government accuse them of taking part in street riots and attacks against pro-Spanish banks and offices.
We’ll give you more information on our next Basque Info edition.
-Basque pro-independence organizations and solidarity campaign groups around the world have called an International Week of Solidarity with the Basque Country this week. Different events will take place across Europe and America these days. Here in Ireland the Irish Basque Committees have organised film screenings and picket lines in Derry, Belfast, Dublin and Cork.
(More information below)
SUPPORT DEMOCRACY FOR THE BASQUE COUNTRY. STOP REPRESSION.
Last year once again, the Spanish government destroyed all hopes of resolving the conflict between the Basque Country and the French and Spanish States.
During the negotiations:
-the majority of pro-independence organisations continued to be banned.
-Several media were closed down.
-40 pro-independence activists were called to appear before court due to their political or social activities.
-50 political events of the pro-independence movement were banned.
-25 demonstrations were brutally attacked.
-200 militants were sentenced for their activities before the negotiation period.
-700 check points were detected on the roads.
-The Spanish army carried out operations in 30 towns in the south of the Basque Country.
-500 people were identified for so called propaganda activities.
-Dozens of people were fined for participating or requesting permission to organise political events.
-The Spanish government increased the maximum penalty for “terrorism acts” to 40 years, ten additional years.
-Political prisoner Iñaki de Juana went on hunger strike for 100 days to protest against the fact that he had been sentenced to 3 additional years for writing an opinion article.
-Pro-independence Basque citizens denounced being tortured.
-The arrest of ETA volunteers continued…
Despite their maintaining the truce his, the pro-independence movement remained at the negotiating table until the Spanish government withdrew leaving the pro-independence movement alone at the table.
Since the end of the negotiations:
-the number of political prisoners has been increased by 120 people.
-There are currently 700 political prisoners (out of the Basque Country’s population of under 3 million inhabitants).
-42 people have been imprisoned for their social and political activities.
-New trials are approaching: Udabiltza the association of elected representatives, the anti-repressive group Askatasuna, the political party Batasuna, whose executive is currently in prison. There will be more illegalisations, torture has increased with detainees ending up in hospital with serious injuries and with disturbing rape allegations while in police hands.
-14 members of the new Batasuna leadership have been arrested and imprisoned.
-Two pro-independence political parties have been banned.
The intent is clear: the total intimidation and legal destruction of the pro-independence left movement and of its social and political support.
The pro-independence movement continues to defend the same proposal as during the negotiations :
-A statute of autonomy for the four Basque provinces under Spanish rule including the right to self-determination.
-A statute of autonomy also for the three provinces which are under French administration with a framework that gives the opportunity to develop all political projects.
These are hard times for the Basque Country. We are calling on international solidarity to mobilise, to denounce the denial of political and social rights and to support the right of the Basque Country to self-determination.
18th-24th February International Week of Solidarity with the Basque Country.
Thursday 21st Film Screenings:
Belfast: 7pm Felons Club.
Cork: 6pm University College Cork.
Saturday 23rd Picket lines:
Derry: 2pm Free Derry Corner.
Belfast: 2pm Cultúrlann, Falls Road.
Dublin: 12pm GPO.
Cork: 2pm Daunt’s Square.
Dublin: 7pm Film screening Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square.
Irish Basque Committees
13 February 2008
Basque Info 12th February 2008
Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon bans the two remaining pro-independence parties ANV and EHAK.
Spanish police arrest 14 prominent members of Batasuna.
Basque pro-independence parties call for a general strike on February 14th to denounce the state of exception.
-Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon bans the two remaining pro-independence parties ANV and EHAK.
Last Friday, judge Garzon ordered police authorities to shut down the offices of the remaining legal parties ANV, the Basque Nationalist Action party and EHAK The Communist Party of the Basque Lands. The two parties will be banned for 3 years. Their bank accounts have been frozen. They are also banned from standing in the next general elections that will take place on the 9th of March.
Judge Baltasar Garzon of the Spanish High Court accused the two parties, the Basque Nationalist Action party and the Communist party of the Basque Country of being inked to Batasuna.
Batasuna was declared illegal in 2003 and is banned from standing candidates in elections, the judge's ruling means that no Basque left-wing pro-independence party will be represented in the March 9 election.
The Supreme Court has also been presented with separate lawsuits from Spanish prosecutors to completely outlaw these two parties.
In 2003, the Supreme Court outlawed Batasuna on the grounds that it was part of ETA. To get around it Batasuna resurrected two small parties and had candidates standing for these 2 parties.
The Communist Party of the Basque Lands, EHAK, won nine seats in the 75-member Basque regional parliament in 2005.
Basque Nationalist Action Party, took part in municipal elections last year. Though half of its candidates were banned over alleged links to Batasuna, those remaining won 437 seats in towns and villages throughout the Basque Country.
This time around the Spanish judge is making sure that no left wing pro-independence party stands in the March elections.
The majority of Basque political parties and trade unions denounced this new attack.
Batasuna said that if the Spanish state takes everything as a “terrorist” act then Spain has a big problem. Batasuna repited once again that it is impossible to ban 15-20% of the population. If there was ever any doubt about the democratic character of the Spanish State, it is now obvious that it is a complete farce according to Batasuna.
Batasuna spokesperson and former member of the European Parliament Karmelo Landa told a local newspaper, a few hours before getting arrested that the best way to overcome these attacks is by multiplying political work. He said that despite the pro-independence movement spokespeople being arrested hundreds more come up at a local level, in universities, factories, etc. Landa said that at this stage the Spanish state can’t deny the existence of the Basque Country as a nation and the right of its people to decide about their future. This is a victory they try to destroy by using repression.
Landa was just back from Brussels where he met European politicians who were astonished at the terrible political developments in the Basque Country.
-National demonstration banned and attacked.
In response to the banning of the 2 remaining pro-independence parties, thousands of people took to the streets in Bilbao on Sunday. The demonstration was attacked by the Basque-Spanish police and riots spread all around Bilbao for many hours. At least three people were taken to hospital and another four were arrested.
-Saturday night also saw numerous attacks against banks and pro-Spanish political parties offices all around the south of the Basque Country as a protest against the arrests and bannings.
Spanish police arrested yesterday 14 prominent members of Batasuna.
Among the arrested were Karmelo Landa former Member of the European Parliament and Eusebio Lasa, Batasuna’s spokesperson.
The arrests happened yesterday morning. Most of the arrests were ordered by the leading anti-terrorist Judge Baltasar Garzon.
Garzon argues that the arrested were to become the new executive of the outlawed party Batasuna. Batasuna, was outlawed by the Supreme Court in 2003 on the grounds that it is part of the armed group ETA.
Police searched the houses of Karmelo Landa and Mikel Etxaburu, arrested in Bilbao, and seized several computers. According to the Basque public media, police also searched several houses in other Basque towns.
Protests were organised inmediately in hundreds of towns all accross the Basque Country : picket lines, road blockades, protests at local council meetings, press conferences, demonstrations...etc. These are happening on a daily basis.
-French attack in the north to criminalize pro-independence movement.
Basque and Occitane pro-independence activists Txetx Etxeberri and Jacques Morio were arrested by the French police last week for their alleged relation with ETA. Political parties and trade unions denounced the arrests as political and linked them with the local elections to be held on the 9th of March. Both are very well known activists in their countries. It appears to be clear that the French government want to criminalize and intimidate pro-independence candidates.
200 people took part in a rally in the northern Basque town of Baiona to protest against the arrests.
Etxeberri and Morio were finally released three days after without charges.
-Basque pro-independence parties call for a general strike on February 14th, to denounce the state of exception.
Mikel Etxaburu and Karmele Aierbe from the banned party Batasuna have explained that the objective is to protest against the state of exception imposed by the Spanish government and to denounce the "judicial, political and police repression" and to say "yes to the democratic framework and freedom".
Last night, Basque pro-independence parties called for a ‘general strike’ for the 14th of February which is next Thursday.
In a press conference that took place in Bilbao, members from the outlawed Basque party Batasuna Karmele Aierbe and Mikel Etxaburu read a statement, in which they called "all Basque citizens" to back the rally.
The objective of this call is to give an answer to the "never-ending attack and aggression" that Basque left parties are suffering, among them are, the imprisonment of the leader of Batasuna Arnaldo Otegi, the 18/98 show trial, brutal torture against Basques such as Igor Portu who was arrested in January, the dispersal of prisoners and the judicial measures against the ANV and EHAK.
The 2 Batasuna members, also mentioned the incidents that took place in Bilbao and criticized the attitude of the Basque Spanish police. They described it as the "The Basque Nationalist party’s political police", which they accused of acting "in defence of the Spanish constitutional frame".
-Irish Basque Committees call solidarity protests on the 23rd of February in Derry, Dublin, Belfast and Cork. More details coming soon.
-Batasuna members, Pernando Barrena and Patxi Urrutia were sent to jail for not giving up politics.
4 political events, 10 press conferences and 13 interviews are the elements used by judge Baltasar Garzon to jail Pernando Barrena our monthly guest to Basque info and Patxi urrutia.
The two Batasuna members were arrested last Tuesday, following a previous press conference they gave.
In the press conference the Batasuna members talked about the attitude of the Spanish government during the negotiations and of the detail of the negotiation that took place in 2006 during ETA’s Ceasefire. At the press conference they detailed the conflict resolution proposal for a democratic framework based around the acknowledgment of the Basque Country and self determination.
But the Spanish Labour party and the Basque Nationalist Party left the negotiations.
According to Batasuna, the 2 members were sent to jail so that the truth about the negotiations is not made public.
-ETA responds attacks.
Last Thursday night a strong bomb exploded outside the court buildings in the Basque town of Bergara. The damages were very big. This is the third time this building has been attacked in the last few months. Pro-Spanish politicians and police blamed ETA for the action. This attack has been seen as a response to the repressive offensive launched by the Spanish government lead judges against the pro-independence movement.
-18/98 trial political according to 300 international lawyers.
300 lawyers and law professors who acted as observers at the 18/98 show trial last year denounced the political character of the trial last week. At a press conference held in Barcelona members of different European and international lawyers associations launched a document highlighting the conclusions they all reached after the end of the trial. As we have informed previously 42 well known political, social and union activists were sentenced to up to 22 years in prison for their public and peaceful activities by the Spanish Special Court.
The lawyers said the sentence is against the basics of a democratic state. They added that the Special Court is a tribunal of exception, where the basic standards for a fair trail are not met and the rights of the defence can not be ensured.
As one of the German lawyers who acted as an observer during the trial pointed out: “I saw trials without evidences before but never a trial without crime as this is the case.”
-Dozens of people protested against Spanish prime minister Zapatero’s visit to Donostia/San Sebastian last Saturday. They were immediately attacked by the Basque-Spanish police. Batasuna denounced that Zapatero came to the Basque Country like Bush to Iraq, protected by police and military forces. According to Batasuna occupation, repression and partition are the only things Zapatero offers to Basques.
- Three people were hospitalised following a police attack against a welcoming event of a Basque political prisoner. The attack happened near Bilbao following the homecoming of prisoner Lander Fernandez.
Lander was released from a French prison on January 22nd after being in prison for 4 years.
400 people took part in the event that the Basque-Spanish police attacked.
-30 years ago the Spanish police attacked the popular San Fermines festival in Irunea/Pamplona killing one young man and injuring hundreds. Riots spread around the city for a couple of days after the Spanish police broke into the local arena where thousands of people attended the bulls fight. The excuse used by the police to launch this planned attack was the exhibition of banners in favour of amnesty for the Basque political prisoners.
30 years on a platform has been formed and dozens of events will be held to remember those attacks against the entire population of Irunea/Pamplona in the next months up until the 8th of July.
6 February 2008
Headlines Basque Info News Weekely Bulletin 5th February
- New offensive against the pro independence movement. Police arrest prominent Batasuna members Barrena and Urrutia.
- The Spanish court is getting ready to ban the remaining pro independence parties to prevent them from participating in the March elections.
- Basque Youth movement launches the Gazte Topagunea/Youth Encounter 2008.
ATTACKS AGAINST PRO INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT
- Police arrest prominent Batasuna members Barrena and Urrutia.
The arrest follows a court order of the Spanish High Court judge Baltasar Garzón.
Three senior members of the outlawed Basque party Batasuna were arrested on Monday.
National Court Judge Baltasar Garzon ordered the arrests of Pernando Barrena, Unai Fano and Patxi Urrutia for allegedly acting in the name of an outlawed political party. Barrena is the spokesperson for Batasuna, Fano was member of the negotiation team and Urrutia is an executive member of the party.
The arrests come after the conference given by the three activists about the process of dialogue and negotiation that failed in 2007. The conference was attended by more than 300 people and the pro-independence spokespersons explained again the positions of Batasuna during the process and the attitude of the Spanish Government.
More than a dozen high profile party members are still in jail pending investigations.
Barrena was arrested in the Navarrese town of Berriozar while Urrutia was arrested in the province's capital, Iruñea/Pamplona. The police are still looking for Unai Fano who couldn’t be arrested at his home.
Following the arrests the pro independence movement has no doubt that the arrests are a panic response of the Spanish Labour Party.
As mention, last Saturday Barrena, Urrutia and Fano gave details of the Loyola negotiations that took place in 2006 during ETA’s ceasefire, between the pro independence movement, the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party.
At the talk they detailed the conflict resolution “Proposal for a Democratic Framework” based around the acknowledgment of the Basque Country and self determination.
The proposal suggests the creation of an autonomy for the four southern Basque provinces including the self-determination right. And another autonomy which would recognise the north of the Basque Country under French administration.
But the Spanish Labour Party and the Basque Nationalist Party left the negotiations.
Barrena, Fano and Urrutia have been arrested by fear that they will make public all the negotiation details.
The pro independence movement has already made it clear that Jose Luis Zapatero’s government will not silence them and that intend to explain to all Basque citizens the details of the Loiola negotiations.
People have already taken to the streets to protest against these arrests and the pro independence movement has called on Basque citizens to mobilise.
The Basque pro independence movement has also received support from the international community. Barrena has been working very hard internationally to highlight the situation in the Basque Country. Bairbre de Brun, Sinn Féin’s MEP, has shown her concern around the arrests as well as the future banning of the remaining Basque pro independence parties.
Bairbre de Brun highlighted the need to improve dialogue. According to her the solution has to be political and that the methods used up until now have no solution. De Brun also defended the right to any political party and the need for a new political process.
More pictures of Barrena's arrest: http://euskalherria.indymedia.org/eu/2008/02/46040.shtml
- New offensive against the pro independence movement. The Spanish court is getting ready to ban the remaining pro independence parties.
The banning of the Communist Party of the Basque Lands and Basque Nationalist Action party ANV is on its way. The prosecution presented last week the request to ban the remaining Basque left parties.
The prosecution wants to prevent the two parties from presenting candidates to the general election of March 9th. The closure of offices and the embargo of bank accounts has also been requested.
According to the prosecution these two parties are linked to the banned party Batasuna. That’s the main argument used to request the illegalisation of these two parties.
In addition to the banning the prosecution has requested to the Spanish Supreme Court the implementation of an extraordinary measure to the case so that it can be heard before February 11th which is the deadline to present candidates for the March elections. It is now the turn of the Spanish Supreme court to decide.
The prosecution is mainly using statements made by party spokespeople to evidence that they support Batasuna and are linked to the banned party Batasuna.
Meanwhile members of the ANV party are touring around Europe to gather support and highlight the repressive measures taken by the Spanish government.
They have only started the tour and support from cities like Berlin, Strasbourg, Gant and others and has been very positive. Political parties have shown great surprise at the way the Spanish government is taking measures such as the arrest of the executive of a political party and the bannings.
-People have also taken to the streets to protest against the up coming bannings.
Thousands of people filled the La Casilla Arena in Bilbao in a pro-independence rally at the weekend organised by the still legal ANV Basque Nationalist Action. As already mentioned this party is under great threat to be banned by the Spanish government in the next couple of weeks just before the general elections on the 9th of March.
The ANV election candidates came up to the stage to denounce the hard repressive campaign launched by the Spanish government after the end of the negotiation process and emphasized the strength of the pro-independence movement to overcome the situation.
The rally saw music, videos, Basque culture and political prisoners support displayed and a hugely emotional homage to old Eusko Gudariak or Basque Soldiers who fought against Spanish fascism in the 1936 war. Some of them came up to the stage helped by young pro-independence activists to show the unbroken chaine of struggle for a free Basque Country.
ANV Basque Nationalist Party lost 500 members in the trenches and battle fields against fascism 70 years ago. They fought along with the grandparents of those who, ironically, today want to ban them, the Spanish Labour Party lead government.
-Basque youth movement officially launched Gazte Topagunea/Youth Encounter 2008.
Since the first one was organised in 1994 every two years around 20,000 pro-independence revolutionary youths gather for four days for debates, discussions, workshops, music and fun. This unique event represents the strength and determination of the Basque youth movement and gives the opportunity to live in an independent and socialist Basque Country in small scale.
More details at: http://www.gaztetopagunea.net
PRISONERS AND DEPORTEES
-Basque political prisoner Anjel Figeroa is back in hospital following new epilepsy attacks.
37 year old Anjel has been in jail since 1994. He suffers from epileptic cesours as well as sclerosis. These illnesses have no cure.
Last Sunday, Anjel suffered four new crisis and had to be transferred to hospital from the jail in Langraitz near Gasteiz/Vitoria.
Last December following two serious epileptic attacks, Anjel was transferred to jail. Due to the seriousness of his condition he was kept in hospital for a month. He was only in jail for a week, when he started having new cesours.
Anjel seem to be recovering well in hospital because he was relaxed but the prison conditions have a serious impact on his health.
The Anjel Free Now! campaign has demanded the immediate release of the prisoner.
Protests, pickets and other events have been organised in support of Anjel and to demand his release.
According to the Spanish legislation, Anjel should be released due to his illness.
Meanwhile, Anjel’s relatives have put a claim against the Basque Spanish police. When going to visit Anjel in hospital, his relatives were refused entry to Anjel’s room because they refused to be strip searched.
-As we already informed you last week Basque political deportee Endika Iztueta died as a consequence of the injuries he received when he was mugged by local thieves in the African Republic of Cape Verde. Endika was deported by the Spanish government along other Basque militants 22 years ago from Algeria. There they had to confront hard living conditions. Soon they became a very important part of the local community and gained great respect.
Endika’s remains were brought back to the Basque Country last week. He was welcomed by hundreds of people all along the way from the Bilbao airport to his hometown of Santurtzi. Last Saturday thousands of people attended a very emotional homage at the town’s main square.
-Once again a Basque political prisoner’s relatives had a road accident last week on their way to a visit in prison. As a result Alaitz Iturriotz’s parents’ car was completely destroyed. Fortunately the Basque prisoner’s parents didn’t suffer major injuries. 17 Basque political prisoners relatives have already died in road accidents. 700 militants are kept in more than 100 jails scattered all around Spain and France at hundreds of miles from home.
-120 people protested in Portugalete near Bilbao after a local former political prisoner was arrested and imprisoned again last Wednesday. Ana Lopez will have to spend another two and a half years in jail. She was released on bail soon after her boyfriend, a political prisoner himself, died from a heart attack in jail two years ago as a result of the lack of medical assistance.
-Almost every day of the week towns and villages across the Basque Country see picket lines and vigiles in favour of the Basque political prisoners. Last week hundreds of people gathered asking for the repatriation of the 700 freedom fighters kept in French and Spanish jails.
-Two Basque citizens arrested by the French police are released.
Ainhoa Adin and Eneko Gallarraga were presented as the most wanted ETA members by the Spanish media when they were arrested. However their release was kept very quiet by the media.
French police arrested Ainhoa Adin last Wednesday in Hendaia North of the Basque Country. She was arrested in her home where she lives with her partner and 3 children. She was arrested following an order from the French Judge Laurence Levert. According to the media she was one of the most wanted ETA members. The police raided the house and didn’t find anything. She was released on Friday with no charges against her.
Eneko Gallarraga was also released following the order of the Court in Pau in France. He was released with some judicial conditions. Eneko will have to appear in court every other Monday and is not allowed to get out of the department of Atlantic Pyrenees.
Eneko was arrested 10 days ago in Urruna, north of the Basque country following a Euro warrant issued by the Spanish court. According tot eh Spanish media he was also one of the most wanted member of ETA. On his release the media kept silent.
-The silence around Basque prisoner Inigo Makazaga release is even more serious. Inigo was released on Thursday after spending 6 years in prison. He was arrested in England in 2001. At the time of the arrest he was accused of cooperating with an armed group, of possession of explosives and tentative of assassination. After spending 5 years in an English prison Makazaga was extradited to Spain. The Spanish prosecution asked for a 10 year sentence as well as a 300,000 Euro fine and 10 years ban on living in his home town. Makazaga was only sentenced to 3 and a half years and was released.
Following these arrests and releases the pro independence movement have highlighted that the French and Spanish governments are trying to weaken the pro independence movement. But they are making a mistake as this will only extend the political and armed conflict.
-The last political controversy in Spain exploded last week when the Spanish Catholic Church launched a manifesto about the next general elections. On it the Archbishops called catholics to think carefully about their vote and denounce any attempt to negotiate with ETA. This manifesto has been seen as a clear support for the Spanish right-wing Popular Party.
The high ranks of the Spanish Catholic Church supported the coup d’Etat of Spanish dictator Franco and have always been a big enemy of Basque independence.