Two weeks ago 36 Basque pro-independence youth activists were arrested in the largest police operation in decades. The Spanish authorities’s objective was to destroy the Basque youth movement. Among those arrested are activists involved in the student movement, youth squatted houses, community radios, Basque culture and language, community festivals, alternative music, feminist groups...
All of them were acussed of being members of the banned pro-independence youth organization Segi and a huge media criminalization campaign surrounded the arrests.
Most of them stated they were tortured, girls were even subjected to sexual abuse and finally 32 were imprisoned. Some of the youth who escaped the police operation were arrested just metres away from the
Spanish National Court where they were going to surrend themselves, then taken incommunicado and reported tortures thereafter.
The response was immediate and hundreds of protests took place across the Basque Country. More than 20,000 people took part in a national demonstration in Bilbao organised by the detainees’ relatives.
Last weekend 2,000 people took part in another demonstration organised by the youth movement in Durango during the Basque Book and Album Fair. Dozens of youth groups had previously signed a petition to claim their right to organise against the capitalist system and for Basque freedom. 50 international youth groups showed their support too and some of them took part in the rally. Among them were Ógra Shin Féin representatives. The Irish youth organization also organised solidarity protests over the weekend in Derry, Cork, Fermanagh and Galway. Previously more protests took place in Omagh, Lurgan, Strabane, Limerick, Dungannon, Belfast and Dublin.