Catalans form chain in Spain
By The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:30 p.m.
BARCELONA — More than 1 million people showed their support for Catalan independence on Wednesday by joining hands to form a 250-mile human chain across the northeastern region of Spain.
The demonstration on the region's annual public holiday aimed to illustrate the strength of local backing for political efforts to break away from Spain. The Catalan regional government estimated 1.6 million people in the region of 7.5 million residents took part in the human chain, many of them with red, yellow and blue pro-independence flags draped around their shoulders.
“Today is a historic day. The Catalan people have reaffirmed their determination to be a free state,” said Carme Forcadell, president of the Catalan National Assembly, which organized the event.
The protest in Catalonia was peaceful, but a small group of Spanish fascists in Madrid stormed their way into the office of the Catalan government's delegation building in the capital.
Television images showed about 10 men with Spanish fascist flags shouting, pushing people, knocking over furniture and hitting a journalist's TV camera. They yelled “Catalonia is Spain!” and quickly left, but reportedly opened a tear gas container, forcing the 100 or so people gathered there to evacuate.
During Francisco Franco's fascist dictatorship from 1939-1975, the Catalan language was banned in schools, publishing and from public use.
Despite sharing many cultural traits with the rest of Spain, many Catalans claim a deep cultural difference based on their language, which is spoken side-by-side with Spanish in the wealthy region.
Catalonia's regional leader Artur Mas has promised to hold a referendum on independence in 2014, but the Madrid-based government has said that such a vote would be unconstitutional.
Polls indicate that the majority of Catalans agree on holding a referendum, though surveys indicate support among residents for independence is around 50 percent.
The Spanish government's refusal to grant Catalonia similar fiscal powers held by the Basque Country — the other region with a strong separatist movement — combined with the country's double-dip recession have swelled the pro-independence ranks in recent years.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Putin dissolves, replaces Soviet-era news agency
- Assad forces regain control of key town
- Mandela closes American divide, as Obama, Bush, Hillary share flight to Johannesburg
- Police: Toronto mayor tried to buy crack tape