Friday, September 11, 2009

Police Used as Political Tool

On August 28th of 2008, fifteen people took part on a peaceful sit in with the goal of momentarily paralyzing the construction work for the TAV (Fast Speed Train) in the Bizkaian town on Zaratamo. At the same time, another group displayed a banner as a protest for the construction of the mentioned railroad. The act came to an end when the Ertzaintza (Basque autonomous police force) proceeded to card and identify the protesters. Up until this point the whole thing was business as usual for this kind of demonstrations. The big surprise would come soon after when the Ertzaintza decided to send the event's report to the Spanish Audiencia Nacional after labeling the peaceful sit in as an act of "terrorism".

Those involved received the news with a mix of indignation and concern, despite the outrageousness of the police decision, the political character of the Audiencia Nacional did not overruled the chance for the process not to be disregarded, as it happened in the end. Yesterday, an entire year later, the case was taken to court in Bizkaia. The district attorney requested a fine of 150 euros for a misdemeanor, that could even be disregarded due to the fact that those accused never refused to be identified by the police. Thus, the intentionality of using the Basque police force as a political tool was evidenced since the commanding officers decided to sent to prison citizens that were only exercising their freedom of speech.

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