Thousands of citizens march to defend Basque institutions
“In defense of our institutions” was the motto to protest against the sentence to Atutxa, Knörr and Bilbao. These three politicians disobeyed a Supreme Court ruling when they refused to dissolve a Basque leftist party.
More than 50,000 people attended the rally organized by the Basque governing tripartite PNV, EA and EB-Berdeak, under the motto “In defense of our institutions”. The march finished with the reading of a report to protest against the sentence ruled by the Spanish High Court against former Basque parliament president Juan Mari atutxa and vice-presidents Kontxi Bilbao and Gorka Knörr.
The march started this evening at 6:20 p.m. The members of the Basque Government and the Basque premier Juan José Ibarretxe were leading the rally.
The march is the answer of the Basque Government to the sentence ruled by the Spanish High Court to Juan María Atutxa, former President of the Basque parliament, and its two former vice-presidents Gorka Knörr and Kontxi Bilbao. These three politicians disobeyed a Supreme Court ruling when they refused to try and dissolve the Basque leftist party Sozialista Albertzaleak in the Basque parliament in November 2003.
The organizing parties, PNV, EA and EB, assured the march is not a vote-catching event, but a defense of democratic institutions.
Juan María Atutxa, former President of the Basque parliament, and its two former vice-presidents Gorka Knörr and Kontxi Bilbao were found guilty of disobeying a Supreme Court ruling and sentenced them to a suspension from public office and obliged to pay fines.
According to the ruling, the three politicians disobeyed a Supreme Court ruling when they refused to try and dissolve the Sozialista Albertzaleak party in the Basque parliament in November 2003.
The case dates back to an appeal of the right-wing organization Manos Limpias. Atutxa, Knörr and Bilbao were first tried by the High Court of Justice in the Basque Country and found not guilty in january 2007.
The Basque court agreed with their defence that their jurisdiction in the matter was far from clear. Atutxa said he never said ‘no’ to the Supreme Court, but based his opposition to following their request on a report published by the ex Attourney General, Jesús Cardenal in November 2002, which said that the dissolution of a political party was the responsibility of the legislative chambers.
The ‘Manos Limpias’ group made an immediate appeal against the sentence.
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