Massive demonstration in Bayonne for the rights of prisoners and refugees.
SORTU begins their constitutive process.
25 years of Askapena, 25 years of Internationalism.
Important declaration from a trial of members of ETA.

Massive demonstration in Bayonne for the rights of prisoners and refugees

Close to 15,000 people demonstrated under the slogan of “Hurbildu bakera, Giza eskubide guztiak, euskal preso eta iheslariak Euskal Herrira” (On the path to peace, all human rights, Basque prisoners and refugees to the Basque Country).

The biggest demonstration in demand respect for the rights of prisoners and refugees to ever occur on the streets of Bayonne. The demonstration was led by the families of prisoners who carried photos of their loved ones.

Behind them collective of refugees held a banner demanding the right to live freely in the Basque Country. Following them was the main banner being held by representatives of civil society and Herrira. And together with them, thousands and thousands of anonymous people who dealt with the bad weather and came to Bayonne with the intention of contributing what they could and taking another step towards peace by demanding respect for the rights of all Basque political prisoners and refugees.

The main banner of the demonstration was carried by people of diverse groups; reflecting the great support that was there. Among those holding the banner were: Senator Frederique Espagnac, the general councillor Christophe Martin and the vice-president of the General Council Kotte Ezenarro, all three from the PS; the regional councillor of EE-Berdeak Alice Leiziagezahar; the Abertzale general councillor Alain Iriart; the Batasuna spokesperson Xabi Larralde; the trade unionist from the CGT Peio Dufau; from the Occitan Party Daniel Grosclaude; the councillor from Urrugne Filipe Aramendi; the state spokesperson for the PCF Olivier Dartigolles; the president of Seaska Paxkal Indo; from the LDH of the northern Basque Country Christophe Deprez; and, obviously, but members of Herrira.

Together with them, among the multitude, there were representatives of different political parties, trade unions, social agents, cultural figures, etc. Socialist deputies, MP’s from EH Bildu, deputies from Amaiur, MP’s from Bildu, members of the Abertzale Left, members of AB, representatives from Aralar, from Modem, from the PCF, the NPA, etc. Numerous mayors and council members from the northern Basque Country also came as well as trade union representatives from ELA, LAB, CFDT and Solidaire, among others. Together with all of those there were also many cultural figures, and numerous militants from social organizations such as the League of Human Rights, Bake Bidea, Anai Artea, Bizi!, CDDHPB, Sulidarita (Corsica), economic agents (Peio Olhagaray from the CCI, Patxi Nobilia from the EHLGko Lagunak) and from the Catholic sphere (the priests Mikel Epalza and Peio Ospital, and from the collective of Christians, Atxik Berrituz).

During the entire route the participants never stopped chanting slogans such as “Espetxeak apurtu” (tear down the prisons), “Presoak kalera, Amnistia osoa” (prisoners to the streets, total amnesty) or “Iheslariak etxera” (refugees come home).

The final intervention in the demonstration began with a special salute to all Basque citizens dispersed in prisons of the two states or who find themselves in exile and to all their families and friends who find themselves at this moment travelling to or from visits in prisons of the Spanish or French states.

The representatives of Herrira demanded in their intervention that the two states, especially France, to respect the rights of Basque prisoners and refugees and to take steps on the path to a “fair and lasting peace”. Together with this demand they appealed to those gathered to “continue pressuring Paris and Madrid to change their attitude” and they recalled the necessity of contributing to a solution about the situation of the prisoners and exiles.

The demand for the release of Aurore Martin was also present. The situation of Aurore Martin was especially invoked in the demonstration last Saturday. In fact it was a very extended opinion that her arrest had been an irritant that had as its effect a larger participation in the march by Herrira.

SORTU begins their constitutive process

The new political express of pro-independence abertzales and leftists, SORTU, last Saturday presented their proposals for the debate and the calendar of their constitutive process.

Dozens of abertzales from different generations gathered together for the presentation of the constitutive process. The spokespersons of the Abertzale Left Pernando Barrena and Maribi Ugarteburu explained the details of this process. According to their affirmations, SORTU will be the new political expression of the historic Popular Unity of independentists and socialists who work and struggle for a free Basque Country.

The “Sortzailes” (promoters of Sortu) believe that we have to take advantage of the new political phase to carry out the democratic revolution. The situation must change and this must be by the hands of the citizens.

It is a priority to build a new democratic framework for the Basque Country, based on the recognition of this country and its right to decide. We are talking about basic rights not a political project, knowing that this is the first step on the path to becoming a free state in Europe.

But the democratic revolution goes beyond that: as you can see more clearly than ever in recent times, these so-called democracies are nothing more than camouflaged political and economic dictatorships. Where is the true power? Neoliberal capitalism is robbing democracy from the people and the citizens. The so-called markets and the institutional subsidiaries converted in merchandise have kidnapped democracy.

The political elites have converted into retaining walls that try to evade or weaken social mobilization, trying to avoid by any means any political or economic alternative that could bring about political or social change.

We will work with the objective of confronting all of this. In the Basque Country it is necessary to reorganize the institutional and social model, building a model which guarantees the participation and prominence of the citizens. Basque society has to have power in its own hands.

Sortu will bring fresh air, as an alternative for the profound change in our country, as an instrument to begin a democratic revolution in our country. We want to be the instrument for the freedom of our people.

And for all that to be possible, we have to make the path in hand with the citizens of the Basque Country, strengthening political alliances through EH Bildu and promoting working together with trade unions and social agents.

These are the challenges that are being planted by Sortu and its militants, our national freedom and a clearly transformative left and partisan with the workers and the least favoured classes. Those present here are beginning the constitutive process of Sortu and we conspire against the Neoliberal recipe and those who want to continue to keep our people in chains. They will have us in front of them, we promise.

What is Sortu going to be?

  1. Sortu will be the political expression that reunites leftist independentists of all of the Basque Country. The new political expression of the historic Popular Unity of independentists and leftists that work and struggle for a free Basque Country.
  2. From an organizing point of view, Sortu is the political expression of Zutik Euskal Herria.
  3. Therefore, Sortu recovers the inheritance of the Basque National Liberation Movement and at the same time, the re-education of whose fruit is Zutik Euskal Herria.

25 years of Askapena, 25 years of Internationalism

The Basque Internationalist organization Askapena celebrates its 25 anniversary.

The Basque internationalist organization Askapena has had its 25th anniversary. With the motive of this anniversary they celebrated an act this past Saturday that reunited militants of different generations which have brought solidarity with the Basque Country to different countries around the world.

In the act Askapena reaffirmed their commitment to internationalism and announced their lines of work for the coming years.

They also presented an internationalist manifesto which made a clear attack against imperialism and demanded the sovereignty of the people. In this path, and from the respect to the differences of any kind that happen among peoples, they make a call for solidarity among countries and for reinforcing internationalism.

Important declaration from a trial of members of ETA

Mikel Albisu and Marixol Iparragirre, who were well-known members of ETA and are currently members of the dialogue with Collective of Basque Political Prisoners (EPPK) and the government, have made an important declaration before the court that tried them in Paris. In the same they affirmed “that a delegation from ETA has been waiting for months to meet with representatives from the Spanish and French states to speak about the victims caused by the conflict and assume the responsibility caused by the conflict and resume the responsibility for each part.”, that way to speak of “disarmament, demilitarization, and prisoners to definitively close the wounds.” “We are in front of a historic opportunity to find a fair and democratic solution.”