1 July 2010

Basque Info 16 & 23/06/10

• Pro-independence agreement of historical significance signed
• Struggle for civil and political rights receives new boost
• Growing international support for the Basque Country
• Prisoners in struggle receive support

Pro-independence agreement of historical significance signed

The Basque Pro-Independence Left and the social-democratic nationalist party Eusko Alkartasuna (Basque Solidarity) last Sunday signed a strategic agreement to achieve a Basque independent state.

The agreement has been branded as of historic importance as it is the first one of its kind in the Basque Country and also due to the different traditions and backgrounds both forces represent.

The agreement was signed during a two-hour long political meeting in the Euskalduna Congress Hall in Bilbao including speeches, traditional dance and music and videos. Three hundred members of each party attended, along with representatives from political parties from around the world like Ireland (Sinn Féin), Palestine, Flanders, Catalonia...

Months of common work and debate have led to the signing of this historic agreement. In it both parties commit themselves to develop unified action and strategy to achieve an independent Basque state through a peaceful, civic and democratic confrontation with the Spanish and French states. They set as a priority the resolution of the armed and political conflict through dialogue and negotiation.

The agreement declares the need for new political institutions for the Basque Country and it sets as an objective the achievement of social justice and equality between men and women.

The agreement is open to other progressive pro-independence forces to join in with special reference to the trade union movement. The signatories also talk of the need for joining forces with other pro-self-determination parties. The agreement also states the intention of respecting the differences and autonomy of each party and it highlights the need for new combined electoral platforms.

Pro-Spanish political forces reacted with threats of repression and among nationalist parties some welcomed it and some others demanded the end of ETA’s armed struggle.

Struggle for civil and political rights receives new boost

On the 11th of June dozens of people from different political backgrounds held a press conference to launch the conclusion of months of debate around the campaign for civil and political rights.

In January Adierazi EH!/Express Basque Country! was launched at a massive political event and since then they have been working at the national and local levels to build a grassroots movement in favour of basic democratic rights.

With the launch of the conclusions which include the definition of a bill of human, civil and political rights they want to boost the struggle for democracy and peace in the Basque Country.

This initiative is born out of the state of emergency the Basque Country lives under and the need of strong and organised grassroots response.

During the press conference they showed their support for those indicted in the Udalbiltza case who are facing up to 15 years in jail for their political work as local authority councillors and mayors in favour of the national construction of the Basque country. Political, labour and community organizations have also shown their support publicly over the past few weeks as the trial approaches. At the press conference Adierazi EH!/Express BC! also showed their support to the dozens of pro-independence youth who face many years in jail in soon-to-come trials. 3,000 people demonstrated last Saturday in Donostia/San Sebastian in favour of those same youth.

Three Basque pro-independence youth who escaped from the massive police operation in November appeared in Rome two weeks ago at a press conference to denounce the Spanish repression at the same time as Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero was due to meet his Italian counterpart Berlusconi. They were immediately arrested and imprisoned and are now facing extradition to the Spanish state.

Growing international support for the Basque Country

Representatives of Basque solidarity committees from across Europe gathered in the Basque coastal town of Zarautz ten days ago for their annual meeting. There they were briefed on the political situation, exchanged experiences, agreed new initiatives and showed once again their support to all of those struggling for a free Basque Country.

Year after year new solidarity committees are created and all of them organise an international week of solidarity in February as well as many other local campaigns and events.

Following the example of MEPs in Brussels, Swiss MPs launched last week a working group in the national Parliament to support a peace process in the Basque Country.

Prisoners in struggle receive support

Four Basque political prisoners are currently on hunger strike in different Spanish and French jails to protest against their isolation from other comrades.

Dozens of other political prisoners have once again lost their visits as their relatives refused intimate body searches.

Despite police harassment 130 people from the province of Navarre traveled 1,200 kilometres to the southern Spanish jail of Puerto, near Gibraltar, to show their support for the Basque prisoners who are kept there. Another bus from the Elgoibar town went to Castellon on the Mediterranean coast.

Hundreds of people took part in a march in Baiona, hundreds more attended the Solidarity Day in the Urola valley and dozens of local vigils were organised across the Basque Country showing the Basque prisoners do not stand alone.

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