IRISH REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST PARTY DERRY
P.O. Box 1981, Derry, BT48 8GX
tel. No. 02871 262999
April 3rd 2005
Derry Hunger Strikers Son Issues Call For Support & Solidarity For Basque Prisoners
The Irish Republican Socialist Party has issued a statement from the son of Derry Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) hunger striker Michael Devine, calling for urgent support and solidarity to be given to Basque political prisoners as hundreds continue with hunger protest.
In a statement, Micky Óg Devine said "An estimated 720 Basque political prisoners are currently involved in an indefinite hunger strike which is entering into its forth week of protest. This comes at a time when we enter into the twenty-fourth year since my father his comrades died on hunger strike, we are very watchful of a similar pain and sacrifice currently unfolding in the prisons of France and Spain.
"Their struggle, in many ways does resemble that which my father and his comrades embarked on against a policy of criminalisation however this is the criminalisation of the entire Basque population by both France and Spain. As someone who has been personally affected by such a high profiled hunger strike during the early eighties as a child, I would like to extend my support and solidarity as an Irish republican socialist to the families, friends, loved-ones and comrades of each and every political prisoner involved.
"To this day, I am deeply conscious of the fact that our own family and that of the families of other INLA and IRA men on hunger strike back in 1981 received widespread support from the people of the Euskal Herria (Basque Country). Thousands came onto the streets to protest across that country in anger at developments here in a gesture international solidarity with their demands and in sympathy of with the families as lives were eventually lost. However what gave my family and that of the other families and relatives of 1981 the strength to carry on was the daily support and solidarity from their communities. The action groups and international committees who made sure that we were not alone in the fight for justice.
"The political prisoners and the people of Euskal Herria are not alone in their fight for justice. It must also be made clear that both French and Spanish authorities has an obligation to the hundreds of political prisoners they hold. They must dispel themselves of their perpetual arrogance towards the people of Euskal Herria as this has been the trigger for recent developments and those of the past. They have a duty to immediately open up channels already in existence, to meet with the prisoners representatives and enter into dialogue so this situation can be brought to a successful conclusion before any lives are lost.
"I would encourage everyone, republican or otherwise to play their own small part in a gesture of solidarity with the political prisoners and the people of Euskal Herria at this time. People can act by writing a letter of protest to the French and Spanish Embassies in Ireland to immediately enter into dialogue before lives are lost. Demand that these governments respect the human rights of all prisoners and call for them to end the continuous torture and punishment meted out against Basque political prisoners.
"People can actively participate in the Basque-Ireland Committees and the solidarity activities which are currently being organised. I call upon both France and Spain not repeat the mistakes of the British government in dealing with the just demands of Irish National Liberation Army and Irish Republican Army prisoners in the past, which led to the death of my father and his comrades on hunger strike in 1981."