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Close to 15,000 people demonstrated under the slogan of “Hurbildu bakera, Giza eskubide guztiak, euskal preso eta iheslariak Euskal Herrira” (On the path to peace, all human rights, Basque prisoners and refugees to the Basque Country).
The biggest demonstration in demand respect for the rights of prisoners and refugees to ever occur on the streets of Bayonne. The demonstration was led by the families of prisoners who carried photos of their loved ones. Behind them collective of refugees held a banner demanding the right to live freely in the Basque Country. Following them was the main banner being held by representatives of civil society and Herrira. And together with them, thousands and thousands of anonymous people who dealt with the bad weather and came to Bayonne with the intention of contributing what they could and taking another step towards peace by demanding respect for the rights of all Basque political prisoners and refugees.

The main banner of the demonstration was carried by people of diverse groups; reflecting the great support that was there. Among those holding the banner were: Senator Frederique Espagnac, the general councillor Christophe Martin and the vice-president of the General Council Kotte Ezenarro, all three from the PS; the regional councillor of EE-Berdeak Alice Leiziagezahar; the Abertzale general councillor Alain Iriart; the Batasuna spokesperson Xabi Larralde; the trade unionist from the CGT Peio Dufau; from the Occitan Party Daniel Grosclaude; the councillor from Urrugne Filipe Aramendi; the state spokesperson for the PCF Olivier Dartigolles; the president of Seaska Paxkal Indo; from the LDH of the northern Basque Country Christophe Deprez; and, obviously, but members of Herrira.

Together with them, among the multitude, there were representatives of different political parties, trade unions, social agents, cultural figures, etc. Socialist deputies, MP’s from EH Bildu, deputies from Amaiur, MP’s from Bildu, members of the Abertzale Left, members of AB, representatives from Aralar, from Modem, from the PCF, the NPA, etc. Numerous mayors and council members from the northern Basque Country also came as well as trade union representatives from ELA, LAB, CFDT and Solidaire, among others. Together with all of those there were also many cultural figures, and numerous militants from social organizations such as the League of Human Rights, Bake Bidea, Anai Artea, Bizi!, CDDHPB, Sulidarita (Corsica), economic agents (Peio Olhagaray from the CCI, Patxi Nobilia from the EHLGko Lagunak) and from the Catholic sphere (the priests Mikel Epalza and Peio Ospital, and from the collective of Christians, Atxik Berrituz).
During the entire route the participants never stopped chanting slogans such as “Espetxeak apurtu” (tear down the prisons), “Presoak kalera, Amnistia osoa” (prisoners to the streets, total amnesty) or “Iheslariak etxera” (refugees come home).
The final intervention in the demonstration began with a special salute to all Basque citizens dispersed in prisons of the two states or who find themselves in exile and to all their families and friends who find themselves at this moment travelling to or from visits in prisons of the Spanish or French states.
The representatives of Herrira demanded in their intervention that the two states, especially France, to respect the rights of Basque prisoners and refugees and to take steps on the path to a “fair and lasting peace”.
Together with this demand they appealed to those gathered to “continue pressuring Paris and Madrid to change their attitude” and they recalled the necessity of contributing to a solution about the situation of the prisoners and exiles.
The demand for the release of Aurore Martin was also present. The situation of Aurore Martin was especially invoked in the demonstration last Saturday. In fact it was a very extended opinion that her arrest had been an irritant that had as its effect a larger participation in the march by Herrira.


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