[We will keep updating this information]

On the morning of the 12th January Guardia Civil officers arrested 16 people (12 Basque Lawyers and 4 individuals allegedly linked with Herrira). 13 of them were released after being heard by the judge with no bail and the last 3 to be heard were sent to prison without bail. Police searched several premises, including the offices of Basque Trade Union LAB in Bilbao. Spanish Media said, citing police sources, that they had been arrested on terrorist membership grounds and fiscal crime (not declaring VAT and not paying social security charges).

3 of the Lawyers were arrested in Madrid where they were to act as defendants for 19 of the 35 individuals taken to trial for their political activity. The court case was suspended, awaiting news on the lawyers.

This operation took place after the huge demonstration on Saturday, January 10th, when over 80.000 people took over Bilbao to ask for the end of the dispersal policy and respect for prisoners’ rights. This demonstration was called by Sare Herritarra. During the demonstration volunteers sold stickers and light-sticks, that were later used during the final event. The funds raised during the demonstration were taken for safekeeping into LAB’s office, given its proximity, until money could be counted and taken to banks, that wouldn’t open until Monday morning.

LAB’s Secretary General Ainhoa Etxaide and Sare Herritarra denounced that those funds (90.000€) had been seized by the Guardia Civil. In fact, the Home Affairs Ministry released photos showing how the military officers counted coins and notes, and the took the money out of LAB’s office in the same bags it had been gathered.

The operation took place on the eve of a new relevant Juridical decision, the Supreme Court had to gather on Tuesday 13th January to decide upon the application of a European Framework decision.

One year ago several lawyers and former prisoners were arrested on an operation dubbed “Jaque” by Spanish Security forces, this operation seems to have been dubbed “Mate” (Jaque-Mate, means Checkmate as in Chess).

Protest were called all around the Basque Country on Monday and Tuesday 12 and 13 January and Social Media took #JesuisBasque and #abokatuakLibre as main hashtags, which were trending topics for the whole day on the Spanish State.

Trade Unions, social agents and political parties called a Demonstration for Saturday 17th January in Donostia (San Sebastian) under the slogan, Human Rights, Resolution, Peace.