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Subject: SchNEWS 423, Friday 19th September, 2003
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 21:47:23 +0100


Itoiz Dam / Irati Valley protests - Navarro, Basque Country

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 it's 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 wasted on golf courses and luxury resorts in the South of Spain.

This past June, the eviction of the soon-to-be-submerged villages began, with Itoiz, 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 appearance. Now looking at the possibility 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??)

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