Basque Info 16/06/09
-European election votes still missing
As we previously reported, the left wing pro-self-determination right platform Internationalist Iniciative (II) was subjected to a brutal criminalization campaign by the Spanish media and authorities during the last European elections. The attacks didn’t stop there. During the day of the elections there were numerous abnormalities such as lack of II ballots in the poll stations. Many more irregularities arose in the following days.
For the past ten days II members and solicitors have been denouncing these abnormalities and a campaign has been launched to expose the truth about the results. In the three western Basque provinces 1,800 votes have been recovered in favour of the platform after new vote counts. These new results have raised more suspicion about what really happened in the entire Spanish state. In Barcelona for example, the II representatives weren’t allowed to be present at the new vote count and the same happened in many other places. The counts, by law, are supposed to be public and accountable.
Surprisingly, the blank and no valid votes increased by 300% when there were 1 million less voters than at previous European elections. If we add to that the lack of transparency and explanations from the Spanish authorities, the extrangely poor results in traditionally strong pro-independence places, the systematic destruction of the invalid votes...we can understand why the II candidate Doris Benegas said that this situation shows the lack of democratic protections and standards in the Spanish state.
-Basque pro-independence left reassured on its strategy.
At a press conference last week spokesperson Arnaldo Otegi analysed the great results obtained by the Basque pro-independence left in the Basque Country at the last European elections. He said that despite not being able to stand in elections due to the Spanish authorities banning policies, they decided to support Internationalist Iniciative in the south of the Basque Country. The results showed the movement is well established across the country, north (where the pro-independence platform got the 6%) and south, and that they are on the right path. He went on to say that the results give even more confidence to the pro-independence left to promote the process of political and social change. Otegi added that some substantial progress in that way could be made over the summer and autumn.
Otegi said that the pro-independence left’s main objectives now are to form a strong popular front for soveraignity with an efficient strategy.
Otegi also raised questions surrounding the suspected electoral fraude in the Spanish state and said that it’s very possible that an II MEP elect has been stolen and denied.
-Arrested over alleged escape plan.
7 people were arrested by the Spanish police last week and accused of trying to organise an escape from the Huelva jail in 2007. Among those arrested are 3 Basque political prisoners, relatives, one local supporter, and one of their solicitors.
The anti-repression and prisoners support organization Askatasuna criticised the arrests and accused the Spanish government of doing nothing but propaganda and criminalizing the prisoners’ solicitors. No evidence has been produced by the police.
-Thousands against dirty war.
4,000 people rallied in Donostia/San Sebastian last Saturday to ask “Where is Jon?”. Anger and frustration were the feelings among the thousands of people who attended the demonstration to denounce the disappeareance of former Basque political prisoner refugee Jon Anza two months ago.
Speakers at the end of the rally pointed at the Spanish and French governments responsabilities behind the disappearance. They remembered those who were tortured and killed by the Spanish dirty war during the 80’s and 90’s.
150 people gathered on Sunday to remember the 29th anniversary of the disappearance of another Basque militant, Naparra, whose body was never found and expressed their anger and sadness at Jon Anza’s disappearance.
Two weeks ago former Basque political prisoner Lander Fernandez denounced at a press conference the attacks and harassment from police he was being subjected to. Last week he was arrested by the Spanish police at Madrid airport when he was coming back home from Venezuela. It’s widely believed that he is being targeted because he is highlighting the police threats against him.
2,000 people took part last Friday in vigils across the Basque Country to support the Basque political prisoners.
Hundreds of people carrying the 740 Basque political prisoners pictures appeared before the media last Saturday to denounce the new three western Basque provinces government’s policy of preventing anyone from showing them publicly. The prisoners’ relatives encouraged people to show the prisoners pictures in festivals, pubs and walls over the summer.
There have been also protests in jails against Jon Anza’s dissappearance, solitary confinement and beatings.
400 people paid hommage to Basque political refugee and artist Kepa Arizmendi who died suddenly last week in Baiona after 20 years displaced from his home.