Monday, February 09, 2004

Release Manu Azkarate!

Today at Berria English:

Thousands of people in Donostia call for Manu Azkarate’s release

They denounced the situation of the Basque prisoner as being “indicative of the political vengeance of Madrid and Paris”

Ainhoa Sarasola – DONOSTIA (San Sebastian)
Thousands of people gathered in Donostia yesterday for the demo organised by the Etxerat association to call for the release of the Basque prisoner Manu Azkarate. Azkarate was arrested and taken into custody on January 14 accused of not fulfilling the conditions of his parole granted in 1992 owing to serious illness. Right now he is being detained in the hospital of Donostia as a result of his hunger strike and refusal to take water and his medication while in prison, and the pneumonia he contracted in the hospital.

The march was led by a banner with the slogan “Etxean eta bizirik behar ditugu. Manu Etxera!” (“We want them alive and at home. Bring Manu home!”) carried by Azkarate’s relatives, including Ixiar Arratibel, the prisoner’s wife, and many Etxerat members, among others. Arratibel said in declarations made before the start of the march that Azkarate had not broken any rules relating to his parole, and regarded his arrest as an injustice and an act of vengeance. Next in the march came the trade union representatives who were supporting the initiative ( ELA, LAB, ESK, EHNE, Hiru, EILAS and CCOO) and who bore the banner which said, “Mendeku eta gorroto politikari ez. Manu Etxera!” (“Down with the policy of vengeance and hate. Bring Manu home!”). During the days leading up to the demo the social organisations ESAIT, Askatasuna and Elkarri pledged their support for the demonstration, as did the political parties Batasuna, EAE-ANV and Aralar, among others. Arnaldo Otegi and Pernando Barrena of Batasuna and Maixux Rekalde of Elkarri also marched along the Donostia streets. The march set out from the Boulevard at exactly 17.30 hours. After progressing through the streets of the city centre, it ended at the place where it had first set off.

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