Monday, January 05, 2004

Basque Prisoners to Euskal Herria!

Today at Berria English

Thousands in Bilbo call for transfer of prisoners to Basque Country

In the rain they proclaimed the right of the Basque prisoners to participate in the political process

Aitziber Laskibar – BILBO

In Bilbao yesterday thousands of people demanded the transfer of Basque political prisoners to the Basque Country in response to the demonstration called by the “Amnistiaren Aldeko Mugimendua” (Pro-Amnesty Movement). Numerous people put up with the rain and appeared on the streets of Bilbo in support of the slogan: “Euskal Herriaren alde eraginez euskal presoak Euskal Herrira” (Basque prisoners to the Basque Country in favour of the Basque Country).

Carrying a huge version of the symbol demanding the transfer of Basque prisoners to the Basque Country (*) dancers opened the way for the marchers just after five in the afternoon from the Aita Donostia square. Behind the symbol came the logo of the “Euskal Preso Politikoen Kolektiboa” (Basque Political Prisoners’ Group) followed by photos of 700 political prisoners held by as many prisoners’ relatives. Then came the banner with the slogan of the demonstration. This was carried by members of the Pro-Amnesty Movement, relatives of Basque political prisoners, lawyers and former prisoners. Behind came thousands of people in the rain taking refuge under umbrellas and repeating the demands being given out over the public address system. Shouts mainly in favour of amnesty could be heard, there were also some in favour of the return of Basque political refugees and against the dispersion of prisoners. There were also shouts in memory of Sara Fernandez, who was killed in a car accident last November while on her way to visit the Irunea (Pamplona)-born prisoner Inaki Etxeberria. As is customary, the photographers took most of the photos in the Zabalburu square, where the big rallies held in Bilbo tend to be measured; in the photo of this protest it was not possible to make out the back of the demonstration. The organisers were therefore happy with the number of people who had turned out.

(*) The symbol consists of a number of red arrows converging on a map of the Basque Country.

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