Thousands of people from the Basque region of Spain have begun a `Freedom March' to back demands for a full amnesty for political prisoners and autonomy for the Basque country.
Thousands of people from the Basque region of Spain have begun a `Freedom March' to back demands for a full amnesty for political prisoners and autonomy for the Basque country. They started off from four points in the Basque region on Sunday (10 July) and will end in Pamplona, the capital of the Navarre region, at the end of August.
SYNOPSIS: A crowd of about three thousand people gathered for a rally in Guernica, the spiritual home of Basque nationalism, before the start of the `Freedom March', on Sunday (10 July). The marchers set off from four separate points in the Basque region, parading their Basque flags and singing traditional songs. They were demanding autonomy for the Basque country and a full amnesty for all political prisoners. The marchers will eventually join forces, and meet for a rally in Pamplona, the capital of the Navarre province at the end of August. Pamplona is about a hundred kilometres away from Guernica, as the crow flies, but the marchers will be taking a winding route through the country, and stopping frequently for rallies. Many of the demonstrators marched for only a few kilometres, or even less, but the main core of several hundred kept on. As they passed through new towns or villages, they were joined for short periods by local people.
Wherever the marchers stopped, for rest or refreshment, dancers and musicians dressed in traditional costumes, performed Basque dances and songs.
The march, although not authorised, is being tolerated by the Spanish government, which is facing separatist demands from other regions in Spain, as well as the Basques.