Basque Info 2/06/10

Including the main news of the week and an interview with an Ogra Shinn Féin activist who attended last Saturday's Basque youth demonstration in Brussels, listen to it:

  • Hundreds of Basque youth take their protest of abuse of their rights to Brussels
  • Youth denounces being kidnapped on two occasions
  • Basque prisoners end hunger strikes
  • 100,000 give support to the Basque language schools
  • Leaked police dossier shows how they treat detainees
  • Protest organised in Dublin against Spanish EU presidency

Read here the bulletin:

Hundreds of Basque youth take their protest of abuse of their rights to Brussels

In March different Basque youth organizations joined forces and launched a new group called GaztEHerria (Youth Nation). Their first event was a successful day-long event on Good Friday. At a press conference that day speakers, supported by dozens of other countries’ young activists, called for a demonstration in Brussels to protest the attacks against the Basque pro-independence youth, especially after 36 of them had been arrested in a police operation last November.

Finally last Saturday and despite police check points and harassment en route, hundreds of Basque youth marched in Brussels for their political and civil rights. On their way each one was identified and recorded by the Spanish police. Due to the check points the demonstration started three hours late.

After thousands of kilometres and very little sleep the Basque youth marched on the streets of the European capital behind a banner that read “Freedom for the Basque Country” and to the astonishment of the local Belgians.

The participants held hundreds of Basque flags and chanted slogans like “We are youth -- not terrorists!” or “Continue fighting, continue organising!” Representatives of youth organisations from Ireland, Germany, Catalonia, Flanders, Italy and Kurdistan also took part in the demonstration.


Youth denounces being kidnapped on two occasions

At a press conference last Sunday, Mikeldi Zenigaonaindia, a young former Basque prisoner, publicly stated that he had been kidnapped by the Spanish police on two separate occasions over the past five months.

These actions occurred to other Basque nationalists last year and one of them, Jon Anza, was finally found dead after missing for eleven months. Eventually, supported by his community and the local town mayor, Mikeldi decided to overcome fear and tell his story.

He related being taken to the forest and threatened to spend the rest of his life in jail or even to be killed if he didn’t collaborate with the police.

The local council passed a motion demanding this type of harassment and kidnapping end.


Basque prisoners end hunger strikes

Basque political prisoners in the Spanish jail of Jaen ended their hunger strike after 18 days. They demand the end of humiliating intimate body searches on their way to visits. They haven’t had any visits over the past seven months. They also demanded dignified living conditions and the end of solitary confinement.

Also the Basque prisoners in the French jail of Tarascon put an end to their 14 days’ hunger strike after one of their comrades was taken out of solitary confinement and permitted to rejoin them in their prison block.

The council of Elgoibar town passed a motion last week demanding the release of local political prisoner and Basque Pro-Independence Left’s leader Arnaldo Otegi who was arrested last October, along with five other comrades, when they were promoting a debate for a new strategy based on political and democratic means.


100,000 give support to the Basque language schools

Last Sunday up to 100,000 people attended the annual festival in favour of the Basque language schools in the province of Biscay.

Those who went to the fishing town of Bermeo enjoyed a great day out with different events such as rock and folk music gigs, theatre, clowns, games and great local food and drink.

The regional pro-Spanish government authorities who attended had to hear numerous criticisms of their treatement of the Basque language despite it having official status in that part of the country.


Leaked police dossier shows how they treat detainees

After three Basque prisoners’ solicitors, one renowned artist and six former prisoners were arrested last 14th of April an official police document was found. It seems that a policeman lost it during the police operation.

The document has now been published by Basque newspapers. It gives very clear instructions as to what treatment should be given to the arrested. The solicitors and the artist should be “exquisitely” treated at all times while the interrogations conducted with rest of the detainees should “pursue the obtention of a declaration which will ratify the judge’s accusations”.

After the five days under the incommunicado regime the solicitors and the artist said they treated in a correct manner while the rest of the arrested reported being tortured with plastic bags, beatings and sexual harassment.


Protest organised in Dublin against Spanish EU presidency

This Friday the Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee calls all to attend the last in the series of three protests against the EU Presidency being held by a state in which repression of Basque political activists and torture is endemic, along with the renewal of state kidnap, torture and murder gangs. 16.30, Friday 4th June, Spanish Legation office, Molesworth Street, Dublin.

Irish Basque Solidarity Committees