Friday, May 22, 2009

General Workers' Strike in Hegoalde

The government imposed by Madrid to the Basque Autonomous Community is facing its first test, barely two weeks after taking office against the will of the majoriy of the community's electorate.

Pro independence unions called a strike which, widely supported in the four Basque provinces occupied by Spain, was denounced as politically-inspired by the fascist government lead by Franco's heir Juan Carlos Borbon.

The new administration is the first non-Basque government in the community's history. Critics say it merely echoes the views of Madrid. Strike leaders said they were protesting at local job losses caused by Spain’s economic slump, but Prime Minister Francisco Javier Lopez insisted they had a deeper agenda.

“This is not a strike motivated by social or economic reasons, because the workers have not had any of their rights attacked or overturned,” said Lopez. “Therefore it is a political strike.”

Unlike his predecessor, Lopez supports the current level of autonomy the Basque Autonomous Community enjoys, and has ruled out any negotiations with the pro independence group ETA, and vowed to maintain the violent campaign by Spain against the Basques' civil, political and human rights.

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