"We are announcing the biggest demonstration ever to be held in the Basque Country" was how last week's message began. The organisers of Gure Esku Dago presented the project in front of the Donostia Eureka! science museum. They want to link the Basque cities of Donostia, Bilbao and Gasteiz on 10th June, 2018, and they will need at least 100,000 people to do so.
In 2014 the Basque right-to-decide movement formed another human chain, but this year's one is different in several ways: It is 75 kilometres longer; four years ago it went through small towns mostly, while this year it will pass through cities and large towns, "the places where most people live". The demonstration will begin in Donostia and finish in Gasteiz at the gates of the Basque Parliament. There they will hand over the Citizens' Agreement to the authorities "for them to start the transition towards the people's agreement."
On 10th June the human chain will focus on the Basque Autonomous Community, which administers Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa. According to the movement's spokesperson, this year there is "the right situation for putting this project on the table".
The human chain will not go through the other Basque provinces. Another strategy will shortly be announced for Upper Navarre; and they are also in touch with stakeholders in Lapurdi, Lower Navarre and Zuberoa, according to spokesperson Angel Oiarbide. Gure Esku Dago is “creating conditions for the right to decide throughout the Basque Country”, and the objective is to link all "seven provincial capitals" in the future.
2,019 reasons to decide
Over the next weeks and months they will bring together "reasons to decide". And those reasons will make up the Citizens' Agreement. To do so they have organised round table discussions, and the first will be held next Wednesday in Bilbao and it will deal with welfare.
Gure Esku Dago has called for each person in the human chain will wear a neckcloth with their reason for deciding written on it, and, in this way, the chain which reaches the Basque Parliament will be a "chain of reasons". They have asked for a contribution of five Euros from people who sign up. You can take part via the Internet or your local organisation.
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned the Spanish State for torturing Igor Portu and Mattin Sarasola. The judges decided that Spain had contravened the 3rd clause of the European Convention. The Spanish State has to pay the two men 30,000 and 20,000 Euros, respectively, "for moral damages".
Andoain Town Council (Gipuzkoa, Basque Country) has signed an agreement with Fiare. Socially excluded citizens, and those in danger of being so, will be able to ask for loans from the ethical bank without the guarantees required by traditional banks.
The Basque feminist movement gave the details of the strike which it has called for 8th March at Donostia's Tabakalera International Contemporary Art Centre.
On 13th May, 2017 at Usurbil station (Gipuzkoa, Basque Country) Donostian Martin Goitiandia, who was protesting against the Spanish Gag Law, was seriously injured by a train. Now the Basque police have taken him, along with the person who waited with him for the ambulance to arrive, to court. The trial will be held on 5th March in Donostia.
Susana Uribetxeberria, Basque prisoner Xabier Ugarte Villar's wife, had an accident on 27th January. It happened at dusk after she had visited her husband in prison, and while fortunately she was not hurt, this was the first accident in 2018 caused by the dispersion policy for prisoners.
Jesus Mari Txurruka was to make his declaration at Bergara municipal court in Gipuzkoa last Saturday, the 20th of January. His grandfather's brother died in a Hamburg concentration camp in 1945; Franco's forces had killed his great-grandmother in cold blood nine years earlier at her farmstead at Elgeta in the Basque Country. But Jesus Mari is not going to make any such declaration. And nor are the other 13 victims' relatives who should have done so in January.
The murders which took place in the Otxarkoaga district of Bilbao on the 18th of January have started a debate. Karlos Renedo, a member of Otxarkoaga local association, does not agree with the point of view expressed in much of the media and by many individuals.
On 28th of April, it will be 30 years since the first kick: the kick to the door of the bishop’s medieval garage that nobody imagined would start such a long journey. Meetings, symbolic occupations, speeches, interventions in council meeting were the actions that carved out a path for the Gaztetxe and for squatting Gasteiz.
Artze was an important figure in the renaissance of Basque culture from the 1960's onwards, along with other members of the avant-garde Ez Dok Amairu movement, set up in the last years of the Spanish dictatorship. Born at Usurbil, Gipuzkoa, in 1939, he died at home on the 12th of January after an illness.
The Bizitzeko Alde Zaharra ('Old Town Alive') organization is up and going in Iruñea, Navarre. Many stakeholders got together at Iruñea's Maravillas Youth House (Youth Houses are community squats) to find a solution to the transformation taking place in the historical Old Town district.