PNV, EH Bildu and Sumar have joined the march, which will also be attended by a representative from the Government of Navarra.
BILBAO, Oct 31. Kontseilua will provide more than 40 buses to facilitate the participation of Basque citizens in the demonstration that will take place next Saturday in Bilbao against "the interference of the courts" in the normalization of the Basque language, which is expected to be massive. In their opinion, the "proliferation" of sentences in this regard can only be framed in "a judicial offensive."
PNV, EH Bildu and Sumar have confirmed to the organizers their attendance at the march, which will also be attended by the general manager of Euskarabidea, the Navarrese Institute of Basque Language, Javier Arakama, on behalf of the Government of Navarra, as well as representatives of municipal entities and trade unions.
Representatives of the Basque language community, along with the Secretary General of Kontseilua, Idurre Eskisabel, have presented to the Euskalduna Palace in the capital of Biscay the banner they will carry in the demonstration, and have explained the reasons that have led them to make this call.
Eskisabel has assured that on November 4, "in the face of court interference," they will claim "progress in the normalization of the Basque language" and will put "citizens' rights" at the center.
The organizers of the mobilization are optimistic about the citizen's adherence to the march and, to facilitate their participation, have organized more than 40 buses. In this regard, they have stated that in recent years "there has been an increase in the sentences received from the courts against measures aimed at revitalizing the Basque language" in the Basque Autonomous Community and in Navarra.
In their opinion, "all these sentences have their origin in a reinterpretation of the official status of the Basque language by the judiciary," so judges "have begun to declare unconstitutional any measure that could question the primacy of Spanish."
Kontseilua has recalled that, faced with "the proliferation of sentences," in May 2023 hundreds of people and representatives from the Basque language field and other social agents announced the protest on November 4.
Since then, they have denounced that there have been more reasons to publicly denounce the offensive and mobilize in favor of the Basque language. "And that the latest sentences issued on the Municipal Law and the development decree have dismantled the playing field for making public policies in favor of the normalization of the Basque language, and have increased the defenselessness of the language rights of citizens," they lamented.
In their opinion, "what was already difficult for Basque speakers has now gotten worse." "Beyond isolated sentences, this is an offensive by the judiciary, and on Saturday there will be an opportunity to publicly show disagreement, because there is a lot at stake," they emphasized.
"The judiciary is making and determining language policy, making it clear who has the final say. In fact, it can be seen from sentence to sentence that, despite affecting different rules, measures, areas, and laws, they all have common elements: they deny Basque the status of a minority and vulnerable language and, therefore, the need and obligation to promote it through public policies," they criticized.
For the organizers of the march, "this has become evident in the sentences contrary to the decree developing the Municipal Law." They have also pointed out that "Basque is the vulnerable language and what is happening is even more serious when considering the broader context."
"In the current global situation, the challenges for the future have multiplied for the Basque language and the Basque community. In recent decades, the sociolinguistic reality has changed a lot and, for this reason, in recent times, the Basque language community has unanimously been saying that a leap in language policies is necessary," they indicated.
After reproaching that "they are demolishing the work and social consensus built so far," they have pointed out that "the setbacks that the sentences will cause are unacceptable." "It is time to advance in the normalization of the Basque language, not to regress," they asserted.
They have also defended that "all people have their rights guaranteed." "On the contrary, the language rights of Basque speakers are violated every day. Obstructing the normalization of the Basque language implies continuing with the violation of the language rights of thousands of citizens, damaging social justice, social cohesion, and coexistence," they stated.
Kontseilua has also regretted "the discourses that are being spread by some sectors" that "linguistic rights are 'opposed' to labor rights."
"On the contrary, they are complementary rights that reinforce each other, as emphasized by a broad majority of unions and labor agents. Because workers also have the right to know and develop their profession and work relationships in Basque. Language rights are also labor rights," they asserted.
The demonstration will depart at 5:00 p.m. from Euskalduna, crossing Gran Vía from Sagrado Corazón Square, heading towards Plaza Circular, turning onto Buenos Aires Street, and concluding at Bilbao City Hall with a closing ceremony.
Throughout the route, different parades will liven up the atmosphere and the public will be invited to sing. When the demonstration reaches the City Hall, a well-known musician will recite a famous song.
Subsequently, the Secretary General of Euskalgintzaren Kontseilua, Idurre Eskisabel, will address the demonstrators, and the soka-dantza, enlivened by the Duguna Dantza Taldea group from Iruñea, will be danced, while Ihitz Iriarte performs bertsos written by Sustrai Colina, and Arkaitz Miner, Lorea Intxaurrandieta, Mikel Urbeltz, and Ander Blasko accompany the singing with music.
Through the soka-dantza, the teamwork of the Basque language community will be represented, which, as emphasized by the organizers of the march, "has been danced at special and decisive moments in the history of Basque society." The event will conclude with a recital of the song Kontrapas.