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(en) Spain, Evictions in the Irati Valley, Basque Country - Resistance* in Artozki – DAY 8

From powerfully small <powerfullysmall@yahoo.co.uk>
Date Mon, 22 Sep 2003 19:43:34 +0200 (CEST)

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Local residents and activists are fighting the eviction of several
villages in the Navarra district of the Basque Country, villages that
are soon to be submerged in the waters of the Navarra Canal. The Canal
will be made possible by the Itoiz Dam, a concrete monstrosity that has
been fought against for the last two decades. Help is needed to fight
the evictions in Artozki, a small village about to drown under an ocean
of greed and destruction.


So you're about to get evicted, eh? Some fat cat developer wants to turn
your cozy home into yet another concrete mountain full of soulless,
yuppie boxes. Or perhaps the local Sainsbury's wants to demolish your
house in favour of yet another parking lot for its 19th store in town.
Or maybe the powers that be have decided to evict you from the ancient
stone village where your family has been living for hundreds of years so
that they can cover the whole thing in.....water. As absurd as it sounds
, this last scenario is exactly what's happening to people in the Irati
valley, located in the Navarra district of the Basque Country.
The construction of a mega dam in the Irati valley, conceived of back in
the days of Franco's rule, has been fought by local residents for
decades. In 1993, against waves of protest, the construction of the dam
began, but the resistance did not stop there. Over the past ten years,
activists and local residents have fought against the Itoiz Dam, cutting
cables for concrete mixers and staging frequent demos. Despite all this,
the dam is now complete--a dam which will create the Navarra Canal,
covering the Irati valley and its ancient villages in an ocean of water
and destroying an area of natural beauty and ecological importance....
not to mention that most of the water taken from the canal will be used
to hydrate golf courses and luxury resorts in the south of Spain.
This past June, the eviction of the soon-to-be-submerged villages began,
wit h Itoiz, the pueblo closest to the dam, being the first to go.
Residents and supporters did not accept their watery grave in silence,
however, staging a three day fight with the Spanish police in an attempt
to defend the village. Now yet another village is facing a similar fate,
and activists and local residents are preparing themselves for another
fight. The village of Artozki was scheduled for eviction this past
Monday (15), but so far, the brute squad hasn't made its appearence. Now
looking at the possibilty of a longer occupation than they had first
planned on, activists are calling for reinforcements!! Stage a demo at
your local Spanish embassy or consulate, or better yet, help to fight
the evictions in person!! (What better excuse do you need for a
spontaneous holiday to Spain??) For more info, call Alice on
0034660898791 or email powerfullysmall@yahoo.co.uk
uk> or visit www.sositoiz.com or

Also, if you're into writing letters, here are the details for the guy
who cut the cables for the concrete mixers and is now doing two years in
jail for his heinous crime:
Iñaki Garcia Coch
Prision Provincial de Pamplona
Calle Sanroque sin numero
Apartado 250
Codigo Postal 31014
(write letters in Spanish if possible)

And lastly, there's something useful that people outside of Spain can do
for Artozki... Send them letters!! Yesterday they had a major
celebration when the district rubbish collectors decided to pay them a
visit--meaning that they still register as a "town", even though they
were supposed to be evicted on Monday.... It would be great if the local
postal service were forced to recognize them as well.... Please send
mail to:
Arrotxa etxea
31439 Nafarroa
Basque Country
Spain oudoau


Resistance in Artozki – DAY 8

Today, 22nd September, is the eighth day of resistance in the village of
Artozki, to prevent its demolition to make way for the Itoiz dam.
Despite a big scare on Friday, when four vans of riot police entered the
village with rubber bullet guns and batons, the village is still
standing and full of life.

Friday’s police incursion was met with an impressive show of passive
resistance, with people chained in concrete barrel lock-ons across the
road, and people resisting on rooftops, tripods and locked on to the
houses. They pushed and batonned the people they found in the square
and violently moved the barrel road block with people still locked to
it. After filming everyone the police finally agreed to talk to a
mediator, told her they were just there to disconnect the electricity,
and left. A generator arrived soon after, and Artozki still lives!

This weekend the town celebrated a week of resistance with a fiesta,
with residents of the village and neighbours from the surrounding areas
affected by the dam.

A week ago, when residents left their homes with tears in their eyes, no
one could have imagined that the houses would still be standing and the
village alive with festivities one week later. Around 250 people took
part, with traditional Basque dancing, giant puppets, games and food, as
well as debates and discussions about the dam project and the continuing

Around 80 people took part in the discussions, where the previous
residents of the village made it clear that they have not voluntarily
left. The six families who remained living in the village to the last
were forcibly removed from their homes. They gave their support and
thanks to the people who have stayed to defend the village and denounced
the fact that they have spent 18 years living under the threat of the Dam.

Over the past week the current occupants of the village have been
subjected to constant police harassment, with road blocks on the
incoming roads, police incursions into the village and low flying
helicopters buzzing us and filming the inhabitants (and exploding our
straw puppets with the wind they create!)

At noon today, for example, a van of Navarran Policia Foral drove into
the village square, and six riot police got out, waving rubber bullet
guns and batons, wandered around the village and then left again. They
are testing the level of resistance in the town and how quickly the
defences can be activated.

We are still expecting them to try to evict any day now. We are not
dropping our guard and we repeat the call to action – come help the
resistance in Artozki!

For more information and photos see: www.sositoiz.com
<http://www.sositoiz.com/> or euskalherria.indymedia.org

* [From letter to the editor at the head of "Resistance in Artozki – DAY 8"
(in reply to previous editor remarks):
hey, i am a bloody anarchist!!
we are a group of anarcho-ecologist/squatters who have moved into the
recently abandoned village of artozki to stop it being evicted. we are
living communally and organise though village meetings. here is another
report of how it has gone so far (we have been resisting, with heavy
police harrassment for 8 days) if you don't want to publish it.

with love and rage from artozki xxx

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