Saturday, January 17, 2009
The town of Urbina is right now under total police occupation (both Basque and Spanish police corps). There was a large demontration today against the High Speed Train (AHT-TAV by uits Basque and Spanish acronym) which developed peacefully under massive police control. After the demnstration ended, a group tried to enter the work area, not using violence at any moment, and then anti-riot police charged, injuring many. So far, "normal". But since then the town has been totally occupied by the Ertzantza, with support of the Spanish military police known as Guardia Civil, who is running around arresting people (at least four confirmed so far, all them injured by the police and arrested in the ambulances) and entering gastronomical societies where people tried to refuge. Nobody apparently can get out of the town right now.
The High Speed Train, also known as "Basque Y" is a highly controversial developement that would connect by bullet train all three western Basque capitals and eventually these with the French and Spanish networks. This is being done at a high cost for rural areas and their inhabitants. It has raised strong opposition along the years but it is being imposed anyhow. Recently ETA intervened militarly and was demanded by the Assembly against the TAV to step aside. But even before this inoportune military intervention, the ecologist platform was already being criminalized by the media and the Spanish courts.
Right: poster calling for the national demonstration that has been brutally repressed (source).
Update: listening to Hala Bedi Irratia (a free radio from Gasteiz) right now in wait of news. The last figure of arrested is of at least 16.
A direct witness and victim has been just now telling that the Ertzaintza has been forcing people to the ground and beating them gratuitously, those beaten more brutally have been later arrested. When the policeman was asked "you arrest me because you beat me before, right?", the reply was "yes".
While there are many police controls all around the town, the news of strict siege appear now to be exaggerated. At least the person speaking in the radio could make it to Gasteiz but maybe it was the case for the first minutes.