80,000 people march for political prisoners in the Basque country

Around 80,000 people have joined the demonstrations in Baiona and Bilbao to demand a change in the prison policy of exception against Basque political prisoners.

In Bilbao 70,000 people have marched chanting slogans demanding the return home of the prisoners.

Rosa Rodero and Axun Lasa, victims of ETA and the GAL (Spanish state special teams) in charge of reading the final manifesto of the demonstration said: "We are talking about human rights and not about political demands. The defense of prisoners belongs to us as citizens because we cannot build a reconciled society on an unfair and vindictive punitive basis, and without healing wounds and taking care of the aftermath after so many decades of confrontation or disagreement. This must be a priority responsibility for our elected institutions."

In Baiona 10,000 people - one of the biggest demonstration of the last years - marched demanding to the newly elected Spanish central government to act and put an end to the policy of dispersion of Basque political prisoners.

Sare's (the solidarity association looking after prisoners) spokesperson, Joseba Azkarraga, asked the new Spanish government to "listen to a Basque society that wants peace and does not want the prisoners to be thousands of miles away". 

Azkarraga added: "Seriously ill prisoners must be released when appropriate and not just when they are on the verge of death."

Azkarraka continued: "We demand no more rights violations from the new Government. No more exceptional legislation."