Thousands of Basques have started a series of passive demonstrations in support of amnesty for hundreds of Basque political prisoners held in Spanish jails.
SV INTERIOR: Zarrauz civil administration headquarters with hunger strikers in hall. (3 shots)
SV INTERIOR: Hernani civil administration headquarters with Basque national flag on wall behind hunger strikers standing and sitting on floor. (7 shots)
GV EXTERIOR: Zarrauz town: Banner calling for amnesty for Basque political prisoners carried along street by singing Basques. (4 shots)
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Background: Thousands of Basques have started a series of passive demonstrations in support of amnesty for hundreds of Basque political prisoners held in Spanish jails. On Sunday (27 February) near the city of San Sebastian in the Basque region of northern Spain nearly 1,000 Basques launched a hunger strike.
SYNOPSIS: In the town of Zarrauz 300 Basques crowded into the headquarters of the local civil administration. In what appeared to be a conciliatory attitude by the authorities, the Basques were allowed to stage their protests without police interference. Security forces kept out of sight.
There was a bigger demonstration in the town of Hernani where 600 Basques occupied the town hall. The Spanish political opposition is demanding a political amnesty as one of the essential guarantees that the promised general elections will be free and democratic. The Government has repeatedly said in recent months that it was considering the release of the country's political prisoners.
In fact, most of the estimated 200 political prisoners in Spanish jails are Basque nationalist. Some of the Basques -- joined by Catalan and Galician opposition groups -- are also demanding autonomy for their regions.
After their occupation of government buildings, the demonstrators marched through Zarrauz singing a popular nationalist song.
The current campaign by the Basques ends next week with a major rally in the town of Victoria.