Basque Info 17/02/09
-Solidarity with the Basque Country spreads around the world.
From the 6th to the 15th of February fourteen countries around the world have seen different events organised within the 3rd International Week of Solidarity with the Basque Country. This year’s slogan was “The Basque Country doesn’t walk alone towards democracy and self-determination”.
In Ireland talks were organised in Dublin, Derry and Belfast by the Irish Basque Solidarity Committees.
On Saturday 14th solidarity protests were held in Cork, Dublin, Derry, Belfast, Omagh, Strabane, Newcastle and Lurgan.
Some spectacular actions were organised in Glasgow where Celtic supporters displayed a massive banner reading the week’s slogan in the stadium during the match against Rangers. In Milan local Basque supporters occupied the Italian state owned TV station RAI’s offices to denounce the treatment they give to the Basque conflict related news.
-Civil disobedience against bannings.
On 1st march, local government elections will be taking place in three provinces of the Basque Country. Tlhe Spanish authorities have been trying very hard to prevent the pro independence movement from participating in the election.
And last week, election candidates of Askatasuna and D3M, the two pro independence platforms created for this election, were banned from participating.
The Spanish high court decided to veto the two platforms preventing 20% of the Basque population from voting their prefered option.
To protest against this and to defend the right to participate in elections, the pro independence movement has called on Basque citizens to vote on March the first.
The pro-independence movement will print its own ballots which will be distributed by any means.
Despite the pro independence votes being officially void, they will have to be counted. Pro independence candidates have said that they will actually be the most valid votes.
Meanwhile lawyers of the pro independence platforms have demanded that the Spanish government take into account the recommendations made by the UN Special rapporteur for the promotion of Human Rights.
Last week the UN rapporteur highlighted that with the banning of political parties the Spanish State is attacking fundamental rights of people and ideas. He also criticised the use of torture as well as the wide use of the concept of terrorism which starts with street rioting and ends with the impacting on newspapers and social groups which are public.
Last Saturday pro-independence supporters took to the streets in Bilbao to denounce the banning. Thousands of people took part in the demonstration which was also banned. Shortly after it started the march was attacked by the Spanish-Basque police. Following street riots 7 people were arrested, but were released later on.
-Group Against Torture highlights that Spain continues to torture.
Sixty two complaints were recorded by the Group Against Torture in 2008. According to the group, despite new measures taken to prevent torture, despite, international organisations condemning Madrid’s actions, the Spanish states continues to torture. Throughout the years 7,000 Basques have been tortured by the Spanish police and according to the Group Against Torture it does not seem that they’ll be any changes.
-Repression against youth movement.
20 young people from the province of Gipuzkoa have accused the Spanish Judge Grande Marlaska of using torture.
Last week the 20 Basque activists appeared in front of Judge Grande Marlaska. They are all accused of being members of Segi, the Basque youth pro-independence movement. The Judge has now decided that they’ll all be tried for being members of an armed organisation.
These 20 young people appeared in court following arrests made last year. Some other young people were arrested in 2008 and were heavily tortured. Taking advantage of torture another 20 people were arrested and will now be tried with complete impunity.
-Zionist Israeli leader Lieberman sets Spain as example.
Talking after the success of his ultra right wing zionist party Yisrael Beiteinu at the last Israel elections, Avigdor Lieberman suggested to follow the way Spain represses the Basque pro-independence movement to attack Palestinian political parties.
"Israel Beytenu's requirement of loyalty is standard in other western countries. In 2003, Spain outlawed the Basque party. Only a week ago, the Spanish police recommended the banning of two more parties. We would like to adopt the Spanish law here in Israel. These are the accepted norms in the USA, the European Union and the rest of the western world”, said the pro-Spanish ultra zionist.