[Sinn Fein]

9 March 2001

Sinn Fein Youth/ Ogra Shinn Fein to protest at Spanish Embassy against Basque arrests - Saturday

Dublin Ógra Shinn Fein will hold a picket at the Spanish Embassy on Saturday 10th March 10th at 2.30pm in protest at the arrest and detention by Spanish police of the entire membership of the National Executive of Haika, the pro-independence Basque youth organisation.

Sinn Fein Student Organiser, Damien Ó Ceathlabhair, said:

``The arrest of the entire national committee of Haika is a clear attempt by the Spanish government to cripple the organisation.  It is outrageous that  the leadership of a youth political organisation can be rounded up in the dead of night and brought far from their homes to Madrid. 

``For more than a year now the Spanish State has been engaged in a campaign of harassment and intimidation of language activists, political parties and now a youth organisation, all in an effort to suppress Basque independence.

``We are calling on all those who support freedom of expression and democratic rights to support this protest.

`Ogra Shinn Fein is calling for the immediate release of all those young people who were detained..' ENDS

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