Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Israel identifies ‘missing’ soldier in Gaza

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs ' €80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Widodo poised to become Indonesian president

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

Europe

Basque protesters defy ban to march for ETA prisoners

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-12

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Bilbao in Spain’s northern Basque Country on Saturday in support of jailed members of the Basque separatist group ETA, defying a court ban from Madrid.


A high court judge had vetoed the march, which was initially organised by prisoners’ supporters to call for inmates to be moved to jails closer to their homes.

But two of the region’s main political parties - the Basque pro-independence party Bildu and the more moderate nationalist PNV (Partido Nacionalista Vasco) - joined forces to restyle the rally as a march for “human rights, understanding and peace”.

The treatment of ETA prisoners is an awkward one for the Madrid government, which would be certain to anger victims’ associations if it made any concessions to the prisoners.

ETA - or Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, which means Basque Homeland and Freedom in Basque - is accused of killing more than 800 people over more than four decades, many with car bombs.

However, the group called a ceasefire in 2011, and speculation has grown that it might soon announce a full disarmament.

“We want to take steps towards consolidating peace and coexistence,” said Joseba Egibar, PNV spokesperson.

Prisoners seek return to Basque Country

Families of Basque prisoners wore white scarves at the protest in solidarity with their loved ones.

Itziar Goienetxia, the wife of jailed ETA militant, joined the call for Basque prisoners to return to Basque Country.

“Every two weeks I travel to see my husband with my daughter - 1,200 km there and 1,200km back. Despite the distance, the 40 minute visit is like gold,” she told FRANCE 24.

ETA prisoners’ demands to see out their jail terms in the Basque Country could advance after they said last month they would recognise Spain’s criminal justice system.

In a statement, the prisoners also acknowledged the pain caused by decades of violence.

The group has already been significantly weakened by hundreds of arrests in both Spain and France as well as a decline in political and social support in the Basque Country.

About 600 ETA members are in prison in Spain.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
 

Date created : 2014-01-12

  • FRANCE

    French police arrest six ETA suspects

    Read more

  • FRANCE - SPAIN

    Basque party announces dissolution in France

    Read more

  • SPAIN

    ETA insists it wants to 'overcome the armed conflict'

    Read more

COMMENT(S)