Saturday 8th April, Disarmament day, ended with a massive meeting in Baiona. According to AFP as many as 20.000 people overcrowded the square and the street leading to the main scenario.
After the disarmament process in the morning a sober, dignified and respectful event took place, with the intervention of two Peace Artisans: Mixel Berhokoirigoin and Michel Tubiana, who recalled how Civil Society’s initiative enabled the unblocking and resolution of a situation that had been blocked for 5 years, and how the events of Louhoussoa accelerated this initiative.
Then a manifesto was read in four languages: in English by the writer Susane George, in French by the former magistrate and member of the UN Human Rights committee Louis Joinet, in Basque by the director of The journal Argia Estitxu Eizagirre,finally the member of the Permanent Social Forum and human rights activist Fernando Armendariz. They read the manifesto with over a hundred personalities representing all the political, social and trade union sensibilities of the Basque Country North and South standing behind them.
This message and this act had three functions:
First, to give massive support to the Peace Artisans’ volunteers, who have taken legal risks in relation to their work in the last few days and this morning, and who have allowed the complete disarming of ETA, there is a clear request for them not to be persecuted for this work which the whole Basque society of Iparralde was waiting for and demanding.
Secondly, to support this total disarmament and to demand the irreversible end of all political violence in the Basque Country. This photo makes it impossible for anybody to claim the legitimacy of the Basque people if they want to restart a cycle of political violence.
Thirdly, to call on the French and Spanish governments, because disarmament is not peace and these two governments must now also contribute to peace, creating the conditions for a fair, comprehensive and irreversible peace in the Basque Country, notably by settling the question of Basque prisoners and political exiles, allowing the recognition and reparation due to all the victims of this conflict, and promoting reconciliation, truth and memory, as well as transitional justice to create the basis for a new life together.