28 January 2010

Historical rally against the High Speed Train.

More than 15,000 people rallied last Saturday against the construction of High Speed Train (HST) lines in the north and south of the Basque Country. The rally is the largest to have being organised so far in this long campaign.

Another important aspect was that the demonstration started in Hendaia, in the French occupied northern Basque Country, which then crossed the artificial border and ended in Irun, in the Spanish occupied southern Basque Country.

Those who attended the demonstration were of many different backgrounds including mayors, councillors, farmers, concerned citizens and even some international delegations from European groups fighting locally against High Speed Train infrastructures.

The main speaker Michel Hiriart, on behalf of the Lapurdi/Labourd Northern Province’s towns’ partnership said the project is dramatic and detrimental to the communities and the land. Other speakers also demanded an end to the criminalization of the campaign by the French and Spanish authorities, and asked for the right of the people to have a say and be able to decide about the construction.

The campaign against the HST in the Basque Country is very popular and focuses on the environmental, cultural, energetic, social, and economic damages of the construction of such a massive infrastructure in a small and mountainous country. Campaigners condemned it as a project to enrich the private constructors and to serve the economical and social elites. They demand transparency, public debate and the respect to the people’s decisions.

Local direct action and peaceful protests take place every week across the country but ETA’s attacks against the works have made the headlines very often.

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