Tens of thousands of people - 70,000 according to municipal sources and more than 85,000 according to the organization - have taken part in Bilbao in the manifestation convened by the initiative 'Orain presoak' and the citizen network Sare to denounce the dispersion of ETA prisoners and the "unfulfilled promises" of the Spanish Government. In the act, the organizers have also claimed that the new Statute includes in its articles the right of prisoners to serve a sentence close to their places of origin.
The mobilization of the Biscayan capital, to which all the Basque unions have adhered for the first time, and which has also had the assistance of a representation of the Andalusian Workers Union (SAT), has added to that, this afternoon too , has been developed in the French town of Baiona.
Until the capital of Biscay have also been displaced representatives of Catalan nationalist forces as the spokesman of ERC in the Congress of Deputies, Joan Tardá, the deputy of the CUP Natalia Sánchez or the founder of the platform Crida, Agustí Colomines.
The march has been headed by a banner under the slogan "Orain, presoak" (now the prisoners) that has been being carried, among others, by the express of ETA Sara Majarenas; Olatz Iglesias, daughter of Juan Carlos Iglesias Chouzas, alias 'Gaddafi', or Laura Masvidal, sentimental partner of the former Quim Forn, among others.
The organizers of the march have demanded that the new Statute collect the right of prisoners to serve a sentence close to their places of origin
Also, among the demonstrators has been seen the general coordinator of EH Bildu, Arnaldo Otegi, the parliamentarians of the formation Maddalen Iriarte, Oskar Matute and Pello Urizar, as well as a representation of Podemos Euskadi headed by his secretary of Organization, Andeka Larrea . Along with them, the general secretary of LAB, Garbiñe Aranburu, and the assistant general secretary of ELA, Amaia Muñoa, have also demonstrated in the streets of Bilbao.
Among screams in favor of the return of the inmates to "home", the participants have shown protest posters of the association of relatives of prisoners, Etxerat. The march has concluded in Bilbao City Hall, where two giant banners with the motto 'Orain presoak' (now the prisoners) and 'Etxean nahi ditugu' (we want them at home) have been displayed.
On the steps of the Consistory, the philosopher Javier Sádaba and the journalist Pili Kaltzada have read a statement in which they highlighted that it is time for the "human rights of the prisoners" to be respected.
"Basque society does not resign itself and does not want the rights of prisoners and their families who suffer directly from the current penance policy to be violated. Society again demonstrates that different political opinions are not an obstacle to the unanimous defense of human rights ", they have maintained.
In this way, they have opted to "create the spaces of coexistence that Basque society longs for after decades of confrontation and violence". "We seek to close the cycle of violence and repression to enter the circle of pacification, coexistence and democracy in our country," they said.
In this context, they recalled that point 3 of the 2011 Declaration of Aiete called for "progress in reconciliation" and stressed that "there can be no reconciliation from cruelty or unilateral narrative." "Memory, attention to the victims and the issue of prisons are three preconditions for a framework of coexistence and normalization," they warned.
Criticism of the socialist government
The speech has also criticized the Spanish PSOE government "seemed willing to take some initiatives for peace and coexistence that gave hope to thousands of people," but have lamented that "it is only long, cynically transferring the responsibility of the solution to the prisoners themselves, raising the bar of demands for the closure of the cycle of violence and repression ".
"We are, once again, facing a scenario of unfulfilled promises to bring the prisoners to their homes. It is true that the new government only has a few months to live, but the risk that the election year that opens makes the humanization of the penitentiary policy to the pressure of the ultra-right is total, "they warned.
In his opinion, "the State does not want to assume that the problem is not with an already inexistent band, but with a society that demands steps to overcome the" consequences of the conflict ".
"Neither the families nor the imprisoned people see the promised changes in the humanization of prisons, when it is a matter of sharply separating a standardized prison policy from a policy of exception that did not make any sense when it was first applied. and much more now, "they added.
In this way, they have condemned the dispersion of more than 250 inmates for up to 70 prisons in Spain, France and Portugal within a penitentiary policy, "in which revenge replaced any indication of humanity and even legality". "Every day that goes by, this regime of exceptionality means a covert life sentence," they said.
For all these reasons, they have denounced that the Human Rights agenda be subordinated "to the partisan convenience and to the reason of State, this democracy, incapable of managing the road towards true peace, after a unilateral and definitive ceasefire". "How long will this penitentiary policy of revenge?" Have been questioned.
Likewise, they have defended that society "has been working together for many years, building coexistence and peace, in such a way that" it needs to look to the future and end suffering ".
"We simply demand the application of the law, the immediate release of those who are seriously ill or of advanced age; the immediate issuance of general provisions for the Prison Surveillance Judges to facilitate the requested progressions of the degree; to compute, by means of normative change and by mathematical justice, the sentences already fulfilled in prisons of the EU and the aim of the policy of distance ", they have claimed.
Likewise, they have requested that now that the Basque Parliament is working on the drafting of "a new text of political status" there should be "a qualitative leap in recognition of rights."
"Therefore, we ask that the fundamental right to Basque prisoners be included in the new legal text so that they can serve their sentences in the center closest to their home," they added.
Finally, they have shown their solidarity with the Catalan politicians imprisoned for those who have asked for their freedom, as well as for the young people of Alsasua whom "we want to see in their town, free of that macabre neofranquista conspiracy that has condemned them unjustly".