In Spain, a festival of music to celebrate the victory of the Basque people over the Emperor Charlemagne more than a thousand years ago, was held in the Basque Province of Navarre on Tuesday (15 August).
PAN OVER Crowd gathered in field in Basque province of Navarre, Spain
SV Children playing flutes as people arrive for festival ZOOM INTO crowd around stand bearing Basque flags
GV PAN OVER Large crowd listening to choir singing
SV People buying hats (2 shots)
SV Group of students sitting on grass
GV Crowd watching military figures in festive uniform performing on stage (2 shots)
GV Crowd in forest watching group folk dancing (3 shots)
Clashes between militant Basque Nationalists and police erupted in early July in the Basque Provinces of Spain. The Basques were granted provisional home rule in December of 1977, but plans for full autonomy are still not finalised. The Nationalist ETA are demanding the formation of an independent, socialist, Basque country.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Spain, a festival of music to celebrate the victory of the Basque people over the Emperor Charlemagne more than a thousand years ago, was held in the Basque Province of Navarre on Tuesday (15 August). In the summer of 778, Charlemagne advanced into Spain and attempted to take the city of Saragossa. He was forced to retreat across the Pyrenees and his army was badly mauled by the Basques.
SYNOPSIS: The present day struggles of the Basque people of Northern Spain for their independence were forgotten for a day. On Tuesday (15 August) people gathered at Ronsevalles in the Navarre Province to celebrate their past historical victories with a day of music. The flag, which they have fought for years for the right to display, was everywhere.
The Basques speak "Euscaro" which is the only remnant of a language that was spoken in South-West Europe before the region was Romanised. Their linguistic isolation has meant that a strong folk character has been preserved.
The Basque independence movement, ETA, whose initials stand for "Basque Land and Liberty" in "Euscaro" is mostly responsible for the violence that is associated with Basque independence and many Basques are said to disagree with their methods.
But Tuesday was a cultural rather than a political day. One of the arts that the Basques are known for is the development of remarkable dance and theatre costumes.
Some just observed but participation in traditional fold dancing was hard to resist.
The last few months in Basque Spain have been turbulent and often violent ones. But this day celebrated the Basques cultural heritage and everyone had a good time.