3,500 people ask for Northern Basque Country autonomy, official status for Basque language

"They take us for idiots", organizers claim

Some 3,500 people, according to the organizers, marched on Saturday in Maule (Mauléon, in French) asking for Northern Basque Country autonomy, a "strong university pole", co-official status for the Basque language and an own chamber of agriculture.

Protesters, who had been called by Batera organization, demanded the establishment of a territorial collectivity for the Basque territories in the French Republic, or Iparralde. This is the second demonstration this year that puts forward these demands.

The Basque group says that the French Government is not willing to talk about the establishment of a Basque territorial collectivity simply because the Northern Basque does not officially exist: "They take us for idiots", Batera members said during their speech at the end of the demonstration. Iparralde is currently included in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, one of the six departments that make up the region of Aquitaine.

Batera added that the Basque struggle will continue because "there has never been such a broad political consensus" on these claims in the Northern Basque Country.

Keywords: Basque Country, France, Northern Basque Country