INTRODUCTION: In Spain, the government has made a symbolic, though significant, concession to northern basque nationalists by allowing them to hoist their own flag at town halls all over the region.
GV Crowd in square in San Sebastian celebrating and waving flags (3 shots)
SV Crowd waving flag
CU People waving Basque flag
SV Man in uniform waves Basque flag to conduct band
SV PAN FROM People in crowd waving Basque flags TO band
CU Man in white cap waving
SV Spanish and Basque flags flying from building
SV PAN ALONG crowd with flags and children dancing with flags (2 shots)
SV Building with basque flag on banner across front
GV EXTERIOR Building
The Spanish government has only partly soothed the feelings of Basque nationalists with its gesture, and still faces serious problems. An economic recession and unrest in the northern basque country have been two of the main problems overshadowing Span's transition from dictatorship to democracy. The Basques are demanding greater autonomy for their region and the release of political prisoners. In a statement issued after the Madrid meeting between Basque mayors and Interior Minister Rodolfo Martin Villa, Senor Villa said the government was studying the possibility of extending last July's royal amnesty to cover most of the 200 or so political prisoners still behind bars.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: In Spain, the government has made a symbolic, though significant, concession to northern basque nationalists by allowing them to hoist their own flag at town halls all over the region. The flag, which was banned for forty years by General Franco as a symbol of separatism, was flying outside official buildings throughout the four Basque provinces on Wednesday (19 January).
SYNOPSIS: In the northern port of San Sebastian, thousands of basque revellers celebrated in the main square and displayed the flag, known as the Ikurrina. And there were similar celebrations in many other towns. Shops, which had previously sold the flag surreptitiously, were doing a roaring and open trade, and department stores said they had placed huge orders with manufacturers.
Until recently, the distinctive red, white and green flag was used by Basque extremists to lure policemen into booby traps, and during the Franco era anyone daring to fly it faced immediate arrest. Now, the police have reportedly been ordered not to take any action.
The Ikurrina will be tolerated by the authorities as long as the red and gold Spanish national flag is given preference. Permission to fly the Basque emblem was granted during a visit by Basque mayors to Madrid on Tuesday (18 January). But the decision was unpopular with some administrators and the civil governors of the two main basque provinces are reported to have resigned in protest.