Sunday, October 3, 2010

Huge demo in Bilbao for the right to demonstrate

It is quite incredible but 35 years after the death of dictator Franco, the Basque people still have to demonstrate for the very basic right to hold demonstrations. 

Two weeks ago a demonstration for a democratic peace was forbidden, for instance. And therefore it could not proceed at risk of thousands of people being massacred by the police, plus the charges that could be raised against organizers and participants. 

Today however many many thousands of people could finally go out to the streets to protest peacefully. Not for peace, democracy or self-determination but for the very basic right to hold a simple demonstration. 

Human rights, civil and political rights

The demonstration crossed Bilbao from the place known as La Casilla to the Town Hall. The classical route. It took some 2 hours for the head of the demo to arrive to its destination. The tail was still half way when that happened and the collapse of the streets by the excess of people was such that many people did not reach the final destination. Classical too, we need a bigger city with wider avenues.

The demonstration was opened by 12 women, representative of the organizing groups, all them charged in political cases. They carried a banner that read: 

Human rights, civil and political rights

They were followed at some distance by another banner reading:

Not to prohibition of demonstrations. 
No imposition, no violence. 
Yes to human, civil and political rights.

Then the demo followed. 

Some of the slogans chanted were: 


Basque prisoners back home!

Go Basque Nation! 

Freedom for the imprisoned ones!

Further down the journey, some people have shown banners reading:

Internationalism is not a crime. Freedom for the imprisoned ones.

This is a reference to the latest spat of political arrests, which targeted members of the internationalist association Askapena (Freedom). 

Politicians from all parties, excepting the Spanish nationalist duopoly, were seen in the demo. 

Source: Gara, Boltxe (with more photos). See also video of selected moments at Gara.

Other demonstrations

This was not the only protest that took place in the Basque Country today. In the North, at Baiona (Bayonne), people went to the streets to protest against the delaying of retirement age:

There is a national demo planned for October 12th in Iruñea (Pamplona), that has been named The Green March. Appeals to participate have been continuous these days, today Latin American immigrants also made their own call:

Because you do not need to be born Basque to be Basque. You just need to feel it, to live it.

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