Basque Country

At the June 8 ceremonial handing over of portfolio briefcases from outgoing conservative People’s Party (PP) ministers to their incoming Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) replacements, the contrasts were dramatic.

A bunch of reactionary lifetime political operators and religious obscurantists were replaced by what new Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez boasted was the “progressive”, “feminist” and “Europeanist” alternative.

Catalonia’s regional government has declared it will hold a referendum on October 1 over whether it should become independent from Spain. In response, Spain’s conservative People’s Party (PP) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed that the “unconstitutional” referendum will not take place, setting the scene for the biggest crisis in the Spanish state since the 1978 transition from the Franco dictatorship.

An estimated 33,000 people marched through the Basque city of Donostia on January 17 to protest ongoing Spanish state repression against civil rights activists and lawyers in the Basque Country.

Marching under a large banner reading “Human Rights, Resolution, Peace”, the demonstration included members of the Basque pro-independence left coalition EH Bildu, trade unions and supporters of Basque political prisoners.

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