100,000 Basques create 125-mile ‘human chain’ for self-determination
By TruePublica: Here is something not in the mainstream media for all sorts of reasons, especially given that most government’s in Europe don’t want to see separatist movements succeed. Not to be confused with the recent high profile Catalonian effort of self-determination, the Basques do not want to be left out of the spotlight.
A human chain of what is reported as more than 100,000 people covering a single stretch of 125 miles that linked the Basque Country cities of San Sebastian and Bilbao all the way to Vitoria yesterday to recognise the right to self-determination.
The Spanish push for greater autonomy saw over 500 volunteers organise more than 1000 buses to ferry people to and from their points in the chain. Many were joined together by neckerchiefs on which they had written their aspirations.
The Basque Country has a higher degree of self-government than independence-seeking Catalonia. Although it is often reported that support for Basque independence has fallen over the years, many believe that the population should be given the right to vote on its future ties to Madrid.
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Yesterday’s event was organised by the Basque group Gure Esku Dago (In Our Own Hands). Many of those who attended wore symbols showing strong support for Catalan independence that was so high profile a few months back.
There was considerable support for the politicians and civic leaders who have become Catalonia’s political prisoners.
A spokesman for the left-wing Basque nationalist coalition EH-Bildu said in Vitoria, the seat of the Basque Parliament, that she expected political leaders to take notice of the demonstration.
Maddalen Iriarte said: “Do not close your eyes to the thousands of Basque citizens who have left today in the street.”
Gorka Urtaran, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) mayor of Vitoria, added: “The Basque people have the right to decide their future with complete freedom.”
This right, he said was included in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights, Article 1: “All peoples have the right to freely decide their future.”
Former Basque Parliament presidents Juan Jose Ibarretxe and Carlos Garaikoetxea, were also in attendance, along with the mayors of the three Basque capital cities and EH-Bildu leader Arnaldo Otegi.
Angel Oiarbide, a spokesman for the In Our Own Hands initiative, said:
“In 2014, the atmosphere told us that it was not possible to join people of different thoughts. We believe that the right to decide is the meeting point for all the political sensitivities of the country and that is why we would not understand that a statute was agreed that would be in tune with Madrid.”