Friday, January 12, 2007

Story of Two Pro-Dialogue Marches

I'm sure that you've heard about the two multitudinary demonstrations (there was more actually) that took place in the Basque Country and Spain were thousands went out to the street to demand the continuation of the Peace Process and the dialogue needed to resolve the so called Basque issue.

Maybe you are not sure what I'm talking about, it is not your fault, after all, the main stream media has been labeling the two demonstration as anti-ETA, sparked by the bombing of a parking lot at the Barajas Airport in Madrid.

Here you have a couple of examples, this one found at Yahoo News:

By Joe OrtizSat Jan 13, 1:44 PM ET

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards marched, mostly in silence, for peace on Saturday, two weeks after the Basque separatist group ETA shattered its nine-month "permanent ceasefire" with a massive car bomb.

Demonstrators in Madrid, Bilbao and other Spanish cities carried various slogans including "For peace -- against terrorism," "We are all victims of ETA" and "Peace is the task of all of us."

The protests, which have caused political bickering about who should take part and under which slogans, come after ETA claimed responsibility for the bomb at Madrid's Barajas airport, which killed two people.

The march finally got under way under the slogan "For peace, life and liberty and against terrorism."

The squabbling meant that the main opposition Popular Party was absent from the Madrid march, the first time a major party has not attended an anti-ETA demonstration since democracy returned to Spain in the 1970s.

This prompted other slogans such as "Absences help ETA" and "Where is Gallardon?" -- a reference to the Popular Party mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz Gallardon.

Batasuna, the banned political wing of ETA, refused to join the Bilbao march because the slogan of the protest included the phrase "We demand ETA ends violence."

The Bilbao town hall estimated that 80,000 had joined the protest in the Basque city.

And the one from USA Today:

MADRID, Spain (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched through Madrid and other cities to denounce a deadly car bombing by the Basque separatist group ETA that shattered a 9-month cease-fire and snuffed out Spain's best hopes in years to end decades of violence.

The rallies on Saturday evening were boycotted by the opposition, conservative Popular Party, illustrating how deeply divided Spain struggles to find common ground even on the issue that polls show is the most worrisome to its citizens.

Nationwide figures were not available but the Interior Ministry said the Madrid rally alone drew an estimated 175,000 people.

"I am angry with ETA. The attack only shows that it is a gang of madmen," said Alejandro Zarzalejos, a 41-year-old English teacher who attended the Madrid rally with his wife and two children, of the Dec. 30 blast at Madrid airport that killed two and injured 26.

He said he had been optimistic about the peace process until the bombing. "I have no idea what they want to achieve with this," he said.

Rallies were also held in the Basque city of Bilbao — where police said 80,000 people took part — as well as in Pamplona, Zaragoza and other cities and towns.

In Madrid, the capital's main north-south artery became a sea of people as entire families turned out on an unseasonably warm winter evening. They waved placards with the symbol of a white dove and wore stickers bearing one word: "Paz," the Spanish for peace.

But if you read through the classic noise created by those who care little for peace, you will notice that all the demonstrators were demanding one thing, for the Peace Process to continue.

For anyone that wishes to read the pulse of the Spanish electorate the message is right there, they want for Rodriguez and his PSOE to continue the dialogue with the Basque political forces as to finally find a resolution to the Basque conflict.

And that includes the Ecuadorian community, a collective that for the last two weeks has been showing the Spanish politicians what dignity really means.

Yes, there were slogans and banners against ETA, but by taking the streets the citizens of Euskal Herria, Catalunya and Spain told Rodríguez and the entire political class that they are not fooled, the Spanish government must start doing something in behalf of the process, ending its own violent repression of the Basques would be a good start.

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