Spain expands crackdown on Basque political parties

About a dozen members of the new leadership of the Basque political opposition were arrested in several towns across Spain’s País Vasco Jan. 23. The arrests follow a court order by the Spanish High Court magistrate Baltasar Garzón, who claims that 3DM and Askatasuna, two new parties fielding candidates in the forthcoming local elections, are fronts for the outlawed Batasuna party.

Spain’s Supreme Court banned Batasuna in 2003 on the grounds that it was a front for the armed organization ETA, closing down its offices and barring it from all political activity. Prior to its prohibition, Batasuna used to garner some 12% of the vote in Basque Country elections. According to Spanish news agencies, the police are gathering evidence of links between the outlawed Batasuna and the new parties 3DM and Askatasuna. Police also reportedly carried out searches on the homes of several prominent Basque militants, including Tasio Erkizia, Mariné Pueyo, Santi Kiroga and Joxerra Etxebarria. None were arrested. (EiTB, Bilbao, Jan. 23)

See our last post on the Basque struggle.