In spain, the campaign for Basque autonomy has been gathering momentum. Thousands of freedom marchers?
In spain, the campaign for Basque autonomy has been gathering momentum. Thousands of freedom marchers from all parts of the Baseque country are on their way to a mass rally in Pamplona. The marchers have been organised into four columns of several hundred, each originating from one of the four Basque provinces.
SYNOPSIS: The largest of the four columns arrived in Bilbao on Tuesday (19 July), and it's expected that more will join the march to Pamplona before the group leaves the city.
The groups have been attracting mainly the young and left wing militants. The treks began nearly two weeks ago and will end when they converge in Pamplona for a mass rally at the end of next month. The marches have been largely peaceful, but French police intervened to prevent, 2,000 of the more exuberant demonstrators from crossing the border into France. Basque exiles have also organised their own group starting from Brussels with the aim of joining the others in Pamplona
The new Minister for Regional Affairs, Senor Manuel Clavero, has already said the Spanish Government is committed to granting autonomy to all of the country's regions. All the deputies elected to parliament in last month's General Election, including the neo-Francoists, are also in favour of some kind of autonomy. since the ending of the franco regime, Basque nationalists have been more open in their criticism of Government policy towards them. Even this unauthorised march... which not too long ago would have been crushed by the authorities before is started, is being tolerated. For the new Government of Prime Minister Suarez, the Basque issue will be its most pressing problem besides the economy.