Last Updated: Tuesday, 01 December 2015, 13:36 GMT

Chronology for Basques in France

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Basques in France, 2004, available at: [accessed 2 December 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Apr 8, 1990 Eight French Basques are arrested in connection with ETA terrorist attacks in Spain, thus revealing the connection between the French Basques and the ETA. Throughout the period covered in this chronology, the French government engages in a series of crackdowns on ETA terrorists. The ETA focuses its activities in Spain.
Apr 15, 1990 Police use tear gas to break up a crowd of 1,500 Basques after nationalists set fire to French and Spanish flags near the southwestern town of Bayonne after the annual national celebration of the Basque national day.
Aug 20, 1990 A caller claiming to represent the IK tells a Paris news agency that 163 kilos (370 pounds) of explosives will go off in the French region if jailed IK leader Philippe Bidart is not released. The caller also claims responsibility for a bombing the previous weekend.
Nov 9, 1990 Inspector Dufourg of the Renseignements Generaux (RG), appearing on a French television program, confirms that the RG had contacted ETA leader Txomin in order to exert pressure on the IK to declare a truce in violence.
1991 The IK claims responsibility for 47 different attacks, 15 of them failing. Police are concerned by evidence that the IK is recruiting its third generation of militants, most of whom were previously unknown to the authorities.
Jan 11, 1991 The IK claims responsibility for a string of bomb attacks on tourist sites and estate agencies in southwest France.
Feb 14 - 15, 1991 Two bombs explode and 2 are diffused in France's Basque region a day after a French court rules that a Spanish Basque should be extradited to Spain.
Mar 4, 1991 IK leader Bidet and 6 suspected Basque guerillas are jailed on charges of belonging to a criminal organization.
Mar 30, 1991 Two suspected IK bombs explode in southwestern France.
Sep 6, 1991 A bomb explodes in the southwestern town of Bayonne.
Oct 21, 1991 Suspected IK terrorists blow up a bank in Bayonne.
Oct 22, 1991 A Basque separatist is sentenced to 4 years in jail for a bombing last February. Following his sentence he is barred from entering the Basque region of France for 2 years.
1992 Basque nationalist receive 8% of the vote in regional elections in the Basque region.
Jan 24, 1992 Seven French Basques, including a priest, and 3 Spanish Basques are arrested and charged with criminal association with a terrorist organization.
Apr 19, 1992 French police diffuse 2 bombs in government buildings in southwestern France. The IK claims responsibility for the attack.
Jun 10, 1992 Amnesty International "adopts" 3 French Basques who have been jailed for refusing to serve in the French army.
Nov 2, 1992 IK leader Bidart goes on trial for murder along with 5 other Basques accused of complicity in the murder of 2 French policemen 10 years ago. Bidet is eventually convicted and jailed for life.
Nov 11, 1992 Suspected Basque guerillas carry out 2 bomb attacks in southwestern France after IK leader Bidet is sentenced to life imprisonment.
Dec 1, 1992 Police detain 4 people in connection with last month's bombings.
Dec 26, 1992 250 French Basques set off fireworks and play drums outside of La Sante prison in Paris to protest against the imprisonment of Basque separatists.
Jan 13, 1993 The IK claims responsibility for their first bomb attack in Paris.
Jan 15, 1993 Basque separatists bomb an electric facility in southwestern France.
Apr 10, 1993 French police arrest 7 IK leaders.
Apr 26, 1993 Eleven Frenchmen and 4 Spaniards go on trial for association with a terrorist organization.
May 1, 1993 A gas pipeline between France and Spain is bombed by the IK.
May 14, 1993 French police find 2 suspected IK arms caches.
Jun 5, 1993 Three suspected IK members are arrested. About 2,000 people march through Bayonne to demand the release of Basque separatists.
Jun 9, 1993 IK leader Bidet receives a second life sentence for the murder of a policeman 6 years ago.
Jul 27, 1993 A suspected IK bomb explodes in southwestern France.
Aug 23, 1993 Suspected IK terrorists seize several million francs (several hundred thousand dollars) from the safe of a transport company.
Nov 20, 1993 A suspected IK bomb damages a train near the French-Spanish border.
Dec 2, 1993 A suspected IK bomb damages a post office near the French-Spanish border.
Dec 24, 1993 French President Francois Mitterrand pardons a crippled IK terrorist for humanitarian reasons.
Dec 26, 1993 About 500 Basques demonstrate outside 2 prisons to show their solidarity with Basque prisoners.
Mar 29, 1994 A suspected IK bomb destroys a fuel truck on a French army base in southwestern France.
Apr 1, 1994 A suspected IK bomb blows up an army barrack in southwestern France.
May 18, 1994 A suspected IK bomb damages a police station in the southwestern town of Bidart.
Aug 27, 1994 A suspected IK bomb explodes at a French customs post on the Spanish border in southwestern France.
Sep 17, 1994 About 100 Basques protest against France's policy against an independent Basque state during a speaking engagement by President Mitterrand in Bayonne.
Oct 8, 1994 A suspected IK bomb explodes at a customs post on the French-Spanish border in southwestern France.
Oct 21, 1994 Three presumed IK members are convicted of criminal conspiracy and arms violations.
Nov 30, 1994 The French National Assembly thrown out a bid to turn the Basque portion of France, which is currently administratively joined with another French region, into a separate province.
Feb 26, 1995 Masked youths clash with police overnight after Basque nationalist demonstrators hold a protest in Bayonne.
Apr 1995 The Iparretarrak (IK) explodes a bomb in the town of Orolon-Sainte-Marie.
May 6, 1995 About 2,000 Basques rally in Paris to call for autonomy for their homeland and amnesty for Basque prisoners in French jails.
May 9, 1995 A group of 20 Spanish Basque exiles defy French orders to stay away from French Basque country and seek refuge in a cathedral there.
May 20, 1995 Suspected Basque nationalists explode a bomb in a southwestern French town.
Aug 1 - 30, 1995 At least 17 Basque separatists are arrested in France in a plot to kill Spanish King Juan Carlos.
Oct 2, 1995 A Spanish newspaper reports that the Spanish government financed or bribed a network of French police to collaborate in illegal killings of Basque separatists in southern France during the 1980s in what has become known as Spain's "dirty war" against the Basques. The French government denies the allegations.
Nov 8, 1995 Dozens of relatives of Spanish Basque prisoners and refugees in France begin a 24 hour fast to protest a forthcoming trial of suspected ETA members. (The ETA is the Spanish Basque resistance group.)
Nov 13, 1995 81 people suspected of collaborating with the Spanish Basque ETA rebel organization go on trial in France. About 30 people demonstrate outside the court.
Jun 1 - Oct 31, 1996 Three bombs go off in Bordeaux over the course of four months. Police blame the attack on the IK, but have no proof.
Aug 3, 1996 Over 500 Spanish and French Basque nationalists riot in Bayonne, burning the French flag and breaking windows, to protest police violence in the capture of three suspected members of the ETA.(Agence France Presse 8/3/96)
Dec 28, 1996 French Police arrest 170 Basque demonstrators, who had planned to rally outside the Palace of Justice and the Pont Neuf in support of jailed Basque nationalists (Deutsche Press Agentur 12/28/96)
Jun 21, 1997 A Paris court decides to jail 4 Basque militants accused of carrying out a wave of terrorist attacks in Northern Spain. Over 100 people, mostly family members and former prisoners, demonstrate to protest. (Agence France Presse 6/21/97)
Nov 6, 1997 French police arrest three suspected members of the ETA in the town of La Rochelle. (Deutsche Press Agentur 11/6/97)
Mar 21, 1998 Spanish police near the town of Seville arrest five members of the ETA, including two French nationals found driving a van loaded with 528 pounds of explosives, grenades, and a revolver. (Agence France Presse 3/21/98)
Sep 1998 The ETA declares an indefinite cease-fire.
Mar 1 - Apr 30, 1999 French police uncover two separate shipments totaling over 800 pounds of explosives, chemicals and a few arms in Southern France. The cache was believed to be part of a large purchase of over a half million dollars made by the Spanish ETA. In separate actions, police also arrested Javier Arizcuren Ruiz, the ETA's suspected military leader, and five other members of the ETA. (Agence France Presse 3/11/99 and 4/6/99 and 4/9/99)

Search Refworld