Basque Info 23/06/09
-Massive festival in favour of the Basque political prisoners.
Over the last weekend 20,000 people gathered for three days in Lakuntza at the heart of the Basque Country to support the Basque political prisoners. 70 top rock bands played for free in the 10th Hatortxurock festival to show solidarity to the more than 750 Basque political prisoners and exhibitions, conferences and a political rally were organised. This historical festival aimed to raise funds to help the prisoners’ relatives pay for their trips to the dozens of far-off Spanish and French jails where they are held.
The organisers congratulated everybody for the huge success of the festival and expressed their desire for the festival to be the last, hoping all the prisoners are back home soon.
-ETA kills top policeman.
Last Friday an ETA bomb set under his own car killed the Spanish police Special Anti-Terrorist Surveillance Unit’s Chief Inspector in Bilbao. According to the Spanish authorities he was responsible for more than 70 arrests during his 27 years of involvement in anti-ETA actions. The Spanish government and other state powers expressed their anger.
The Basque pro-independence left stated that the disappearance of Jon Anza, some recent arrests and the latest ETA operation reflect the cruelty of the political conflict. The pro-independence left shows its commitment to help in a constructive manner to find ways to open a process of inclusive dialogue to achieve a definitive scenario of peace. The pro-independence left goes on to say that dialogue and negotiation are the only possible tools for resolution of the conflict and adds that the current Spanish Labour Party’s policies of repression and against dialogue don’t do anything but feed the confrontation.
On Saturday thousands of people rallied to protest against the killing at a demonstration called by the Basque Autonomous Region’s new Spanish Labour government. The local government’s president Patxi Lopez defended once again the defeat of ETA through policing.
-Barandalla back home.
In 2002 Basque political prisoner Bautista Barandalla was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an extremely serious and incurable illness. Seven years had to go by until he’s finally been released. Since last week he’s still a prisoner but in his own home and he’ll have to carry an electronic band wrist on him.
Barandalla leaves behind 19 years in jail. Since 2002 he’s been systematically denied his conditional release despite what the Spanish law provides for these cases. In 2002 and 2003 many massive demonstrations were organised to ask for his immediate release and he has become a symbol of the ill-treatement of ill Basque political prisoners.
There are still eight Basque political prisoners with incurable illnesses who should be released according to Spanish laws.
-Internationalist Iniciative contests last elections.
The pro-self-determination electoral platform continues its campaign to find out what happened during the last European elections in the Spanish state. Dozens of abnormalities were denounced such as Internationalist Iniciative’s ballots missing in polling stations and wrong vote counts.
Internationalist Iniciative decided to appeal against the Central Electoral Office to challenge the counts and the elections. They don’t have much trust in the Spanish judiciary system but they say they’ll appeal to the highest international bodies.
-Where is Jon?
Last week marked two months since the Basque militant Jon Anza went missing in France. First it was his family who denounced his disappearance on the 15th of May after ruling out any other possibility. On the 19th of May ETA said the Spanish and French governments were responsible for Anza’s disappearance. In a statement the armed organization said that the police knew Jon Anza was an ETA militant since January after they found his finger prints in a weapons dump.
The Spanish authorities denied their involment and the French government has ignored the accusations.
-Police operation against ETA.
Basque citizens Patxi Uranga, Ainara Vazquez and Olatz Lasagabaster were arrested in the early hours of Tuesday by Spanish policemen in Usurbil and Astigarraga near Donostia/San Sebastian. According to the police they found 75 kilos of explosives in the searches and accused the three arrested of being members of ETA. The man and two women arrested are well known for their involvement in the Basque language movement. The office of a Basque language magazine and one club were searched and computers seized by the Spanish police.
The Spanish Interior Minister congratulated the police from Washington where he is on an official visit and asked the CIA to help them in their fight against ETA.
Protests against the arrests were held in the deteinees towns.
-Support for Basque activists in Belfast.
Around 100 people took part last Saturday in a solidarity night at Cultúrlann in west Belfast to show support to Basque activists Inaki de Juana and Arturo “Benat” Villanueva. The two men are facing extradition to Spain for political reasons.
A documentary about torture in the Basque Country was shown and music was provided by traditional band Casadh and DJ’s Red Rasta and Rasta Revolution.
The money raised will help the Don’t Extradite the Basques Campaign (www.dontextraditethebasques.org) to continue raising awareness about the cases and the repressive situation in the Basque Country.