Basque Info 31/03/09
-Popular walkathon in favour of the Basque language begins.
Korrika (www.korrika.org) is the name of the most massive event in the Basque Country. Every two years around 600,000 people take part in this walkathon to raise awareness and funds if favour of the national language. 10 days non-stop and 2,500 kilometres, all around the Basque Country, that shows the importance and support of euskara, the Basque language. Korrika is organised by AEK, the adults Basque language teaching grassroots movement. AEK has some 100 schools and 600 teachers across the country.
Korrika began last Thursday and it’ll finish on Saturday. This year’s slogan is “Welcome to the country of us who want to live in Basque”. A mini Korrika has been organised in Dublin for this coming Saturday.
-Spanish police arrests eight.
Eight young people were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday in Hernani, near Donostia/San Sebastian. The Spanish authorities are questioning them on suspicion of being involved in recent acts of sabotage.
-Eight political activists released.
Eight pro-independence political activists were released on bail last week after spending two months in prison for trying to stand in elections. They were arrested on the 23rd of January by some 300 Spanish policemen just a few weeks before the elections in the western Basque Country. The Spanish authorities accused them of organising a new pro-independence election platform, Democracy 3 Milion.
Ultimately, the platform was banned. Police attacked their election campaign and harassed those trying to put up posters or deliver ballots. Despite all the repression 100,000 people (8% of the vote) voted with “illegal” ballots for the pro-independence candidates.
-Life sentences for political prisoners.
Basque political prisoners Inaki Pujana, Juan Mari Igarataundi and Nicolas Rodriguez saw their sentences extended last week. As it has already happened with another 38 Basque prisoners the three should be released this month but due to a new Spanish government policy, remissions are now applied upon the total of the sentence and not upon the maximum time to spend in prison (30 years until 2007 and 40 years since then).
This policy has been seen as a true life sentence which is inconstitutional in Spain.
An ETA bomb damaged well-known businessman Juan Manuel Arana’s house in Zornotza, near Bilbao last Thursday. Arana is the Bilbao’s Shipyard’s president and treasurer of the Bilbao’s Chamber of Trade & Commerce.
-Remembering fallen comrades.
200 people attended the annual Basque volunteer’s commemoration in the Aritxulegi Mountain. Despite Spanish police check-points people gathered to remember the 225 militants who have died in the last 40 years.
In Pasaia, near Donostia/San Sebastian the Basque-Spanish police attacked those who gathered to remember four Basque volunteers who were ambushed and killed by the Spanish police 25 years ago. 25 years on and nobody has been ever charged for these killings.
New details have emerged surrounding the case of the disappearance of ETA member Pertur in 1976. Italian fascist militants currently in jail were questioned last week by a Spanish judge. They said that around that time they had a house outside Barcelona were they prepared operations against ETA members who were in the north of the Basque Country. They used weapons given by the Spanish secret services. The Italian fascists told the Spanish judge they heard from other fascists about a Basque volunteer who was kidnapped, tortured and killed and then disappeared in 1976 but couldn’t remember the name.