20 January 2009


Basque Info 20/01/09

- Spanish-Basque police brutally attacks march against High Speed Train.

Thousands of people gathered in the small town of Urbina in the province of Araba last Saturday to see the damages that the construction of the tracks for the High Speed Train has already been doing. At the end of the march the Spanish-Basque police attacked the protesters and tens of demonstrators were injured. 8 people were also arrested and at first, accused of “terrorism”. Check points were placed before and after the march.

There is currently a huge campaign against the construction of the tracks for a High Speed Train which will link the French and Spanish states through the Basque Country. This train will conditionate seriously the future of the Basque Country due to its negative social and economic impact.

-Basque political prisoners.

Basque political prisoner Jon Bilbao has entered his 27th year in prison becoming the longest prisoner serving in Europe. The number of prisoners who spend 10, 15 or more than 20 years in prison is on the increase. Meanwhile prisoner Jose Angel Biguri has seen his sentence extended last week. He has been in prison for 21 years. He was supposed to be released next year but the Spanish Special Court has extended his sentence till 2019.

Jon Lizarribar, who is in a French prison and is due to be released, has started a hunger strike as he fears he will be handed over to the Spanish authorities who could torture him and put him in a Spanish prison.

-10th birthday of newspaper Gara.

The left and pro-independence newspaper Gara celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend. The pro-independence newspaper, was developped following the closure of the former daily paper Egin by the Spanish authorities. A huge fundraising campaign was launched and 10,000 people become share holders of the newspaper. Gara sells 50,000 copies every day, 7 days per week. Last Saturday, Gara organised an extensive public interview with Arnaldo Otegi, former leader of the pro-independence party Batasuna under the slogan “Libre” (Free). He was interviewed by Gara, Mexican newspaper La Jornada and Italian Il Manifesto editors.

750 people packed the venue in Donostia/San Sebastian and 200 had to follow it on a screen outside the building. The latest negotiation process and future possibilities, the prisoners, the credit crunch, Marx, Kosovo, Gaza were a few of the themes discussed.

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