"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.
On 14 April the biggest demonstration in Iruñea for a long time was held in support of the ten young people from Altsasu, Navarre, who are going to be tried in Madrid. Some people thought it was the biggest demonstration ever held there: the municipal police state that 38,000 people took part, while the organizers say that 50,000 did. Claiming that a brawl in which they took part was "terrorism", the prosecutor has called for them each to be imprisoned between 50 and 62 years.
“After taking part in a four-year long process, we have opened a new playground at our school. It will give boys and girls the same opportunities, they will be surrounded by nature and it has come from their dreams." This is now the new playground at Kurutziaga School at Durango, Bizkaia, has been described. It will be officially opened on 24th April.
After making preparatives over the last few months, BiziLagunEkin ('with our neighbours') platform has been set up in Donostia. "The current model of tourism in the city concerns us. We are a meeting place for people from different ideologies and ways of life. What brings us together is a concern about the consequences of tourism in our city on local people's lives".
The Government of Navarre (Basque Country) has decided to offer public health care to the people who have been excluded from it; for instance, immigrants without documents.
A pension of less than 1,080 Euros. That is the figure which the Pentsionistak Martxan (Pensioners on the March) platform has set forward as the lowest dignified pension, and on 17th March tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the main Basque cities in support. The people furthest from that objective in the Basque Autonomous Community (Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa) are women.
In 2017 somebody at Sarriguren (in the Iruñea area of Navarre) suggested that part of the town's participative budget be used to create a natural wooded area along the canal there.
The Basque Country Feminist Movement has given its first evaluation of the day. They underline that it was "a complete success", as can be seen in the photographs. They see the strike's success as turning point, and say it is time to take real measures "once and for all". According to the feminist movement, 230,000 women demonstrated in the Basque Country on the day.
Over recent years the FCC company has been in charge of keeping the streets of Hernani (Gipuzkoa) clean, just as in many other Basque towns. But from May onwards Hernani's own Garbitania public service will be doing that. Votes from EH Bildu and Orain Hernani (Podemos) passed switching the service from the private sector back to the public sector.
Basque political prisoner Xabier Rey Urmeneta has died in Puerto de Santa Maria Prison (Cadiz, Spain), more than 1,000 kilometres from his home in Iruñea.
A demonstration had been organised for 14th April in Iruñea in support of the three young people who have been held in prison for almost a year and a half, and to demand they be given a fair trial. After a pub brawl with two members of the Civil Guard (Spanish armed forces), they were arrested and have been held in custody since then.