130.000 demonstrators in Bilbao

Jan 15, 2014
Last Saturday, some 130,000 people took part in the demonstration convened by the ELA and LAB trade unions and the PNV and Sortu political parties under the slogan "Human Rights, Agreement, Peace". ELA positively rated grassroots support of the demonstration and hopes that it will help to drive the political mainstreaming process of the Basque Country.


ELA wishes to make its point known regarding the political climate, given recent events (arrests, searches, bans on public protests and the demonstration organised last Saturday).

1.- First of all, we would like to congratulate the organisations that convened (and joined) the demonstration last Saturday for their response to the trampling of the democratic and civil rights with the ban on the events planned for that day to support the rights of prisoners. Convening the demonstration reflected what the vast majority feel in our society. We should also congratulate the general public that made the largest demonstration ever held in Euskal Herria possible.

2.- ELA, yet again, has seen further proof of the gravity of the backlash being led by the PP political party in the State. It is a party that is aligning itself with the extreme right; a party that has become a political obstacle for everything: for political mainstreaming, for channelling the political conflict and that, furthermore, is imposing a completely ultraliberal and centralist agenda in the social and economic sphere.

3.- In the Basque Country, significant unilateral steps have been taken to consolidate the political mainstreaming (and more must be taken in the future). Longed-for steps for many years. However, the Spanish government refuses to accept the evidence and is exclusively focused on repression and bans; its actions reflect the paranoia of a party that longs for that time when part of the Basque political representation was illegalised.

4.- ELA believes it is important to conclude that the PP negation is spreading to all spheres, including areas on the political agenda of the Basque Government. We do not believe that any bilateralism is possible with a party that believes in pure and simple enforcement. There is no bilateral relationship, unless it is based on the permanent acceptance of subordination. Institutional normality must not be the benchmark for Basque politics with this degree of aggression by the government.

5.- For those of us who seek political mainstreaming that enable a democratic confrontation of political projects and for those of us who want to work for our people's right to decide, the demonstration held last Saturday should not be something exceptional; that is up to all of us who took part in convening the event to ensure that. It is time for new political benchmarks, which must come from the shared reflection of those of us who were in Bilbao in Saturday, along with the active participation of society, without which there would be no future for any political project that democratically wishes to stand up to Madrid.