EU decision on Batasuna 'flies in face of democracy'
Sinn Fein Spokesperson on International and European Union Affairs
Aengus O Snodaigh has condemned the decision by EU Interior Ministers
to add Batasuna, a Basque political party, to the list of
organisations it suspects has links with terrorism. The decision was
made at the request of the Spanish government.
The Dublin South-Central TD said: "Everyone with an interest in seeing
a peaceful solution to the problems in the Euskal Herria (The Basque
Country) will regret this decision. The EU has been conned into doing
the dirty work of a Spanish administration, which has continually
displayed absolute contempt for the democratic process and for the
Basque people. The threat to peace and democracy in Euskal Herria does
not come from democratically elected Batasuna but from the Spanish
"The meaning of democracy for Prime Minister Aznar includes the
banning of political parties, the closure of newspapers and radio
stations, the prosecution of culture and language activists, the
imprisonment of the executive of Basque youth organisations and the
ongoing and systematic abuse and torture of political prisoners,
repeatedly denounced by human rights organisations and just as
"Sinn Fein joins tens of thousands of Basques in expressing our
continued support for Batasuna and the struggle for independence and
socialism in Euskal Herria."
The EU decision follows extraordinary Spanish local and provincial
elections, which took place despite the banning of the 225 lists of
candidates presented by the Basque nationalist left.
When Basques went to vote on Sunday 25 May, some 170,000 o were not
allowed to vote for the political party they wanted by the Spanish
courts in collusion with the Spanish government.
Although some independent candidates have been voted in as councillors
and mayors, the State ensured that there is practically no
institutional representation of the Basque pro-independence movement on
town councils, provincial parliaments, and the Parliament of Navarre.
Only 100 councillors out of the more than 600 that would have been
elected will be able to take their seats on the town councils.
The citizens in six Basque towns could not vote, as the only political
grouping contesting the elections had been banned. In 17 villages, the
number of votes obtained by the banned candidates were more numerous
than the candidate declared to have won the election. In another 31,
the vote will be repeated as no candidates ran for election.
So, for 168,431 Basques, election day was a day of protest, as they
tried to vote for the pro-independence Basque left using banned ballot
papers under police harassment.