Wednesday, January 19

In Bayonne, 2,000 people in the street for Basque prisoners

Demonstration in favor of Basque prisoners in Bayonne, January 8, 2022 GAIZKA IROZ

Under the slogan “time is running out”, nearly 2,000 people, according to the organizers, marched this Saturday in Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), to demand the release of Basque prisoners.

This march was intended to “act a blockage” of the French government, according to Anaiz Funosas, the president of the organizing movement “Bake Bidea” (Way of peace), “as we come to the end of a presidency”.

The procession, divided into three columns for health precaution, crossed the city in peace, at times crossing the demonstration of opponents to the health pass.

The protesters highlighted two particularly critical situations, according to them: those of Jakes Esnal and Ion Parot, both 71 years old, imprisoned for 31 years in France.

“They are over 70 years old and have no prospects for the future,” Anaiz Funosas told an AFP correspondent.

The two men had been arrested and imprisoned in 1990, then sentenced in 1997 to life imprisonment, with a security period of 18 years, alongside other members of an ETA commando group such as Frédéric “Xistor “Haramboure.

The latter, after 30 years of detention, received an “authorization for home detention under electronic bracelet” and was able to return home.

“Intelligence would have liked the other two to follow, but no, we are pushing back, we are delaying”, regretted Ms. Funosas, who also points to the “new steps taken” by the government of Madrid, “while he did not There is neither listening nor will Paris “, according to her.

For Bake Bidea, the “contempt” displayed by the Macron government for the “dialogue opened for four years” requires “a new phase of mobilization, more spectacular and based on civil disobedience” to “create a balance of power”.

Protesters also marched for Unai Parot, 64, also imprisoned in Spain for 31 years.

The Bake Bidea movement, engaged in a pacifist resolution of the Basque conflict, has been seeking, for years, to ward off any temptation of violence.

Every January, the mobilization in favor of Basque prisoners usually brings together thousands of people in Bayonne, including elected officials, political organizations, associations or public figures.

A mobilization is also being held in parallel in Bilbao. Last year, because of the sanitary situation, a human chain of 2,000 people had been privileged in the traditional Bayonne parade.

About thirty former members of ETA, which announced its dissolution in 2018 after 60 years of existence, including four decades of armed struggle in France and Spain, are currently imprisoned in France.

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