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Democracy for the Basque country. No to repression

1. February 2008

by Askapena

Last year once again, the Spanish government destroyed all hopes of resolving the conflict between the Basque Country and the French and Spanish States. The Spanish Labour Party PSOE alongside the Basque Nationalist Party PNV, closed the door of the negotiations with the Basque pro-independence movement.

During the negotiations, the majority of pro independence organisations continued to be banned or political activities were suspended by judges. Several media were closed down. 40 pro-independence activists were called to declare due to their political or social activities. 50 political events of the pro-independence movement were banned. 25 demonstrations were brutally attacked. 200 militants were judged for their activities before the negotiation period. 700 check points were detected on the roads. The Spanish army carried out operations in 30 towns in the south of the Basque Country. They identified 500 people for so called propaganda activities. They fined dozens of people for participating or requesting permission to organise political events. The Spanish government increased the total amount of years to do for “terrorism acts” to 40 years, ten extra years. Political prisoner Iñaki de Juana went on hunger strike for 100 days to protest against the fact that he had been sentenced to 3 extra years for writing an opinion article. Pro-independence Basque citizens denounced being tortured. The arrest of ETA volunteers continued… Despite all this, the pro-independence movement remained at the negotiating table until the Basque Nationalist Party and Spanish Labour Party PSOE withdrew leaving the pro-independence movement alone at the table.

Since the end of the negotiations, the collective of prisoners has increased of 120 people. There are currently 700 prisoners and the Basque Country has just less than 3 million inhabitants. People working in social and political spheres have been judged as part of the 18/98 show trial, condemned to hundreds of years of prison and accused of being members of ETA for the unique reason that they support the idea of an independent and socialist Basque Country. New trials are coming up, Udabiltza the association of elected representatives, the anti-repressive group Askatasuna, the political party Batasuna, whose executive is currently in prison. There will be more illegalisations, torture has increased with detainees ending up in hospital with serious injuries and with disturbing rape allegations while in police hands.

It is the discrimination and legal destruction of the pro-independence left movement and of its social and political support.

The pro-independence movement continues to defend the same plan as during the negotiations : A statute of autonomy for the four Basque provinces under Spanish rule with the possibility to have the right to self-determination. A statute of autonomy also for the three provinces which are under French administration with a framework that gives the opportunity to develop all political projects.

These are hard times for the Basque Country. We know that we will resist as we owe this to our children. We are ready. 50 years of modern struggle. We resisted Franco as well as all Spanish governments from left to right. They all got bog down with the Basque Country and it will continue until the French and Spanish authorities recognise the reality and the rights of our country.

We are calling on international solidarity to mobilise, to denounce the denial of political and social rights, so that our country can build democratically a sovereign, proud and socialist society.
Gora Euskal Herria askatua!
Long live to the Basque Country free!

Euskal Herria, January 2008