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Monday, August 17, 2009

Police aggression in fiestas "excessive", major says

In yet another sad development of the hyper-repressive tendency of the new undemocratic Western Basque government,
the major of Gernika had to denounce as "excessive" the intervention of the autonomous police corps in the middle of the fiestas of the Biscayne town that caused many injured and four arrested (already released but charged with "apology of terrorism", "breach of judicial order" and "alteration of public order").

The police aggression was intended against a festive-political action known as "triki-poteo" in solidarity with Basque prisoners, which surely consisted in going from bar to bar drinking normally with some sort of commemorative paraphernalia like the now forbidden photos of these prisoners.

Basque "political prisoners", not all members of ETA or even guilty of any sort of violent action nowadays, are scattered throughout the Spanish geography and submitted to draconian prison measures (extended penalties, often amounting to de facto live sentences, isolation, threats, tortures...), forcing their relatives and friends to put up with lengthy journeys every weekend or so in order to be able to visit them, maybe in Cádiz, more than 1000 km away from the Basque Country. Many relatives have suffered deadly traffic accidents in such travels. The demand is that they are sent back to the Basque Country (Euskal presoak Euskal Herrira: Basque prisoners to the Basque Country).

Recently the Neoinquisition special tribunal (Audiencia Nacional, heir of Franco's Tribunal de Orden Público) decreed that showing photos of these prisoners or otherwise showing solidarity with them ammounts to "apology of terrorism" and is therefore illegal. Many taverns have been forced to remove them or fined for not doing it. This campaign of solidarity with Basque prisoners has been going since always and, naturally, counts with many supporters, including most relatives and acquaintances of those prisoners, amounting to a large fraction of the Basque people therefore (this is a very small country), but only now, since the death of fascist dictator Franco, has been declared illegal in any form.

In the past, when such iconic elements have been declared illegal, they have been re-legalized de facto by armed action. When the Basque banner was illegal in the 70s bomb-flags were placed in many places, causing the death of several police officers who attempted to remove them. After a recent campaign against nationalist propaganda, bombs were attached to some political banners, causing that these banners are seldom removed anymore. I would therefore expect soon to see bomb-photos if this new repressive trend does continues.

Cosas veredes... (things thou shall see, from the Cantar del Mío Cid, Castilian medieval literature).

Photo from Gara

By the moment, anyhow, the resistence has been mostly pacific: with the posters removed by police being replaced just hours later and the memory of Basque prisoners becoming omnipresent. The police repression is therefore having exactly the opposite effect than the one intended. After all it's classic guerrilla manual: action > repression > increased mobilization and consciousness.


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