Basque Info 24/02/09
-Anti-democratic election campaign goes on.
Two pro-independence platforms have been prevented from taking part in one of the two Basque parliaments’ elections due on the 1st of March. Last week Spanish judge Garzon went further and banned all their activities and ordered the closing of offices and websites. 8 people remain in prison for trying to organise these pro-independence election platforms.
Despite being prevented from taking part in the elections and the continious attacks against its activists and events, the pro-independence movement is carrying on with the election campaign. They have called on the Basque people to a massive action of civil disobedience by voting with the “illegal” ballot. It has been described as a “golden” vote, a vote for real change, a vote which will open the door to a democratic situation in the Basque Country.
In response to the attacks against the pro-independence movement some pro-Spanish parties’ offices were damaged over the weekend.
On the early hours of Monday 23rd, an ETA bomb destroyed the Spanish Labour Party’s new offices in the Basque town of Lazkao.
-“They can’t stop the pro-independence youth movement”.
In March 2001 23 members of the leadership of the pro-independence youth movement were arrested and imprisoned and a simliar operation happened again just one year later. In total 40 young people were sentenced to 6 years in jail for their political work in favour of independence and socialism. Some of those imprisoned were released last week after serving their sentences to the full.
In a press conference they said they don’t regret their political commitment and that they are very proud of the pro-independence youth movement. They went on to say that this movement is stronger than ever despite the attacks and bannings and that the Spanish and French states failed completely in their objectives of making them disappear.
A good example of this was evident during last Thursday’s day of action. Thousands of young people took part in many events organised with the slogan: Join the independence. School strikes, demonstrations, road blockades, buses and mural paintings...followed by harassment from the police was seen in 50 towns across the southern Basque Country.
-Demonstration against criminalization in the north.
500 people took part in a demonstration in Donibane-Lohitzune/St Jéan de Luz to protest against the police questionings of 90 people in the past few months. According to the French police these arrests and questionings have been carried out to investigate the finances of the pro-independence movement. 180 people have been questioned in total since 2007.
Speakers at the end of the rally said these arrests want to stop the strengthening of the pro-independence movement in the north of the Basque Country. They said: “They know everything about our lives but they still can’t understand a thing, they can’t understand why so many people can be involved in a struggle without getting any economic profits out of it.”
-Basque political prisoners.
Hundreds of people took part in the weekly vigils in support of the 765 Basque political prisoners in towns across the country. These prisoners are scattered in 86 prisons thoughout France and Spain. Their friends and relatives have to travel hundreds of miles every week to visit them. 16 relatives have died in road accidents in the last 20 years.
The Basque prisoners’ relatives association Etxerat denounced this week that attacks against them on their way to visit their loved ones have increased in the last few months. Buses’ wheels and windows have been broken, personal belongings have been stolen and check points have been set to harass the prisoners relatives.
Basque political prisoner Juan Manuel Piriz has entered his 25th year in jail. The prisoners’ support group Askatasuna has denounced the extension of prison sentences to make effective life sentences for Basque prisoners.