Under the watchword ” hurry up “, nearly 2,000 people, according to the organizers, marched Saturday, January 8 in Bayonne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), to demand the release of Basque prisoners. The procession, divided into three columns for health precaution, crossed the city in peace, at times crossing the demonstration of opponents to the health pass.
The demonstrators highlighted the situation of two prisoners, Jakes Esnal and Ion Parot, 71, imprisoned for thirty-one years in France. “They have no prospect of the future”, underlined Anaiz Funosas, president of the organizing movement The Way to Peace (Path of peace).
The two men were arrested and imprisoned in 1990, then sentenced in 1997 to life imprisonment, with an eighteen-year period of safety, alongside other members of an ETA commando group such as Frédéric. « Xistor » Haramboure. The latter, after thirty years of detention, benefited from a “Home detention authorization under electronic bracelet” and was able to return home.
“Neither listening nor will in Paris”
“Intelligence would have liked the other two to follow, but no, we push back, we delay”, regretted Mme Funosas, which also points to the “New steps taken” by the government of Madrid, “While there is neither listening nor will Paris”. The demonstrators also marched for Unai Parot, 64, Ian’s brother, imprisoned in Spain for thirty-one years.
Every January, the mobilization in favor of Basque prisoners brings together thousands of people in Bayonne, including elected officials, political organizations, associations and public figures. A mobilization is also being held in parallel in Bilbao. Last year, due to the sanitary situation, a human chain of 2,000 people was privileged to the traditional Bayonne parade.
About thirty former members of ETA, which announced its dissolution in 2018 after sixty years of existence, including four decades of armed struggle in France and Spain, are currently imprisoned in France.