Street Riot in San Sebastian

One ertzaina (a member of the Basque police force) was injured with cuts to his neck yesterday afternoon when the police in San Sebastian tried to stop an illegal demonstration called by the Pro Amnesty Movement which supports ETA prisoners. According to sources belonging to the Ertzaintza four other policemen were injured when the police confronted the illegal demonstrators. Nine demonstrators were detained by the police including the spokesperson for Askatasuna, Juan María Olano. Those arrested could face charges of causing public disorder and aggression towards the police.

The demonstration which had been called for 13.30 pm yesterday afternoon had been prohibited on two previous occasions by the Basque Regional Government for reasons of public order. Nevertheless, the Pro Amnesty movement announced last Thursday that it would go ahead with the demonstration anyway. Olano said that Juan José Ibarretxe’s government had to decide whether it wanted a peaceful demonstration or a violent one.

Yesterday afternoon there was a police cordon around the Boulevard in the centre of San Sebastian, the area where the demonstration was due to take place. However, a group of protesters were still able to spread out a banner calling for an amnesty for ETA prisoners and self determination for the Basque Country.

The group was headed by Juan María Olano and Ohina Agirre, the representative of Etxerat, Estanis Etxaburu. When the group arrived at the police cordon the Ertzaintza used force to disperse the crowd using plastic bullets. The crowd then dispersed into the old part of San Sebastian where disturbances continued for some time.