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Inaki Irazabalbeitia

Former MEP, Aralar

Huge crowd in Bilbao in favor of Basque peace process

Jan 14, 2014

In the lines bellow you have the messagge I sent my fellow MEPs to inform them on the current situation of Basque peace process


Dear Colleagues,


In the next lines I wish to inform you on the current situation of Basque Peace Process.

Last December 28th, the Basque Political Prisoners Collective released a very important statement for the progress of Basque Peace Process. The document came in response to the demands of the Social Forum for Peace held last spring. In the document three very important ideas are stated:

1.         Prisoners recognize the damage they caused.

2.         They compromise to use exclusively democratic and peaceful ways to develop their political work and refuse to use the methods of the past.

3.         They accept the current legal means to be released out of prison in both an individual and a gradual way.

This last point is really important because it represents a change in the strategy that the Collective held in the past, so far they had refused to such solutions and they had been very critical to the prisoners who accepted individual procedures to get out of prison.

The statement of the Collective is a real step forward in the peace process in the Basque Country. A unilateral step, anyway. It deserved to have had a positive answer by the Spanish Government.

None of that happened. The Spanish Government has reacted to the contrary. The moves the Spanish Government did, went in the direction of stressing the peace process, in other words, steps back.

1.         The operation of the Civil Guard last week arresting lawyers and representatives of Basque prisoners.

2.         The ban on the demonstration for the rights of Basque prisoners, which is traditionally called for the second Saturday of January.

Neither of those actions makes sense if you want to progress in the resolution of the Basque conflict; even more after the release of the document mentioned above. It seems that the Spanish government moves to obstruct, complicate or impede an orderly end of ETA.

As a consequence of that and with the aim of giving an answer to the prohibition of the demonstration, the main Basque political and social forces called for a new demonstration. Last Saturday Basque citizens came out clearly against the blockade of the peace process, as far as a crowd of more than 110,000 people gathered behind the slogan 'Human Rights. Understanding. Peace’ in the streets of Bilbao (

The demo clearly expressed the will of Basque citizens in favour of a peaceful resolution of the Basque conflict.

I hope you have now a clearer image of what is currently going on in the Basque Country.