INTRODUCTION The Basque people of north-eastern Spain have long considered themselves a separate nation. And?
GV PAN Coastline and mountains of Basque country. (2 shots)
SV Basque village on hillside. (2 shots)
GV Sheep farm
CU AND SV Basque men singing nationalist song. (5 shots)
GV AND SV Massed crowd at Basque rally. (5 shots)
CU ZOOM BACK TO SV Radio announcer speaking on Basque programme. (4 shots)
SCUs AND GV Basque children in school. (7 shots)
CUs Basque men singing nationalist song. (3 shots)
SV Basque nationalist party leader speaking.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: "Between the Atlantic coastline of north-west Spain and the foothills of the Pyrenees there are nearly three million people who consider themselves a separate and forgotten nation. Not Spanish, but Basque. Today in spite of 40 years of Franco's dictatorship, the Basques still have their own distinct language and culture, and Basque nationalism is stronger than at any time since the end of the Civil War.
The Basques call their homeland Euzkadi, and according to the words of their most popular nationalist song, are ready to lay down their lives for its liberation. The song, of course, is banned in spain and the Basque National Choir had to go to Paris recently when they wanted to record it. Basque nationalists are now a significant political force in Spain, and the government in Madrid knows that it can't afford to ignore them.
Radio Populare in Bilban is now actually broadcasting in Basque legally every day. The station was leased to the local Catholic bishop by the government in Madrid, and now puts out request show and news and discussion programmes about Basque problems. They claim they have a wide and sympathetic audience.
Basque is generally agreed to be the oldest language in Europe. Like Finnish and Hungarian, it's not related to any other, and today there are less than three-quarters of a million people for whom it's a mother tongue. At the end of Franco's rule, Basque was tolerated but never actually taught in the Spanish state system. Nationalists therefore organised parents' co-operatives and built their own schools.
The liberation for which Basques are now campaigning, is simply freedom from the control of the central government in Madrid.
SEQ 9: BASQUE NATIONALIST: "If they do not give the Basque autonomy, this place will be ungovernable. The tension will be on the increase. There will be a total disrespect for the central government. The civic and...a civic resistance and even a military resistance from the younger elements of our society who refuse to accept this status quo".
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The Basques fought on the left wing side in the Spanish Civil Car of 1936-39, but the area fell to Franco's Nationalist forces fairly early in the war. General Franco made it illegal to fly the Basque flag or broadcast Basque language radio programmes.
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Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION The Basque people of north-eastern Spain have long considered themselves a separate nation. And since the death of General Franco, they have received more freedom than they had during the long reign. It is now legal to fly the Basque national flag and Basque language radio programmes are also allowed. But the nationalists want more freedom, as David Lomax of the BBC reports.